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Island expat found dead in Mexico

Nov 08 2012

A Nanaimo expatriate living in Mexico has been found dead, reportedly tied to a tree with his own belt around the neck .

The death of Ron MacKintosh, 64, was confirmed by the Department of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa on Wednesday.

The mother of his two children, Joan MacKintosh, said that his son and daughter are devastated.

"We have just received the news," his former wife said.

Foreign Affairs issued a statement Wednesday saying their thoughts were with MacKintosh's loved ones. Canadian and Mexican officials are investigating the death and providing consular assistance to the family. The results of an autopsy are not yet known.

MacKintosh went missing along with his 2008 Jeep Patriot on Oct. 21.

Brian MacDonald, who had known MacKintosh for 35 years, kept in contact with him after he retired to Mexico in 2010.

MacDonald said MacKin-tosh, a gentle person by nature, had always dreamed of retiring under the sun.

"He was a friendly gringo. Ron retired a little early, he'd been travelling to that area going back fairly consistently for almost 30 years," he said.

MacKintosh had left home without his passport or identification to visit a friend in the Pacific coast town of Melaque, about 600 kilometres west of Mexico City. He was last seen about 5: 30 p.m. local time and was believed to be heading back to nearby Barra de Navidad down a stretch of highway when he disappeared.

"Ron knew that road like the back of his hand, he'd driven it thousands of times," MacDonald said.

When asked about the accuracy of a media report from Mexico that said MacKintosh had been found tied to a tree, MacDonald said he did not want to get into the grisly details. He said that his friend's hands had been bound and his belt removed from his pants to tie his neck to a tree.

"It was just a matter of driving home, being in the wrong place at the wrong time in a good vehicle," he said.

"He was abducted and taken into a back road."

As a construction engineer involved in several projects throughout Nanaimo and Vancouver Island, MacKintosh gained a reputation as being hardworking and dependable.

"He was a gentle man, never had any temper and honestly was not really mentally or physically capable of hurting anybody," MacDonald said. "He covered my back more than once."

MacKintosh was known throughout the Vancouver Island construction industry as an engineer with Koers and Associates Engineering in Parksville.

"It's a shocker," said founding director Tony Koers. "Everybody is extremely sad, of course, about the loss. They all respected Ron."

MacKintosh is survived by his son, 28, and daughter, 24.

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