A disturbing photo has emerged of a burnt-out van on the side of the road in Mexico as police desperately search for missing Australian mum Tahnee Shanks.
The Mexican news outlet Por Esto published an image of the smouldering vehicle, which is now allegedly being held as evidence in the case.
Mexican police have also seized a video of a woman being forced into a van and are investigating whether it is linked to Ms Shanks’ disappearance.
A disturbing photo has emerged of a burnt-out van on the side of the road in Mexico as police desperately search for missing Australian mum Tahnee Shanks
According to the report, police are investigating whether Ms Shanks, 32, and her missing partner Jorge Aguirre Estudillo were targeted by criminals in a random attack.
It was revealed last week that Ms Shanks, from Queensland, had disappeared and her two-year-old daughter Adelynn turned up dumped at a church in Cancun.
Adelynn was due to arrive back in Australia on Monday after grandmother Leanne and uncle Ben Shanks flew to Central America to rescue her.
It was revealed last week that Ms Shanks, from Queensland, had disappeared and her two-year-old daughter Adelynn was found dumped at a church
The trio were pictured at the international airport on Monday as they prepared to catch a plane back to their home in Queensland.
The desperate search continues for the two-year-old’s mother Tahnee Shanks, 32, who was reported missing with the child’s father Jorge Aguirre Astudillo.
Leanne told reporters outside the departure terminal it was ‘breaking my heart’ leaving the country without her daughter.
An Australian toddler who was found wandering barefoot and alone outside a church in Mexico is making her way home after she was reunited with her relatives
The reunited trio were spotted at the international airport on Monday as they prepared to catch a plane back to their home in Queensland
Adelyn had previously been cared for by Mexican child welfare authorities before her relatives arrived
‘I just can’t even grasp what’s happening,’ she told Nine News. ‘At the moment we can’t even even get our heads around it.’
Adelynn was seen being cradled in the arms of her uncle while her grandmother fitted a sandal onto her left foot at an airport cafe.
‘We’re leaving knowing that Tahnee is getting searched for in a very professional way,’ Ben said.
Adelyn had previously been cared for by Mexican child welfare authorities before her relatives arrived. She has also now received an emergency Australian passport.
Ms Shanks’ brother Daniel said ‘three eyewitnesses’ saw Mr Astudillo leave his daughter Adelynn outside the Chapel of the San Archangel.
Mr Shanks told the ABC that his sister, who is from Queensland’s Whitsundays, claimed she was on a vacation with her family in a small fishing village with poor reception but something felt off.
‘I’m assuming I was talking to him (Astudillo),’ he said.
Ms Shanks had been holidaying around the Yucatan peninsula and was set to return to Australia after her relationship broke down with her partner Mr Astudillo.
The distraught sibling said Ms Shanks had stopped using social media days before she went missing.
Mr Shanks is unable to travel to Mexico himself because he is unvaccinated.
‘Look, it is very out of character, she is always on social media, she is always posting photos of her and Addie constantly, it is a constant stream of it, so for her to drop off, we knew something was wrong,’ Mr Shanks told Sunrise on Friday.
‘For this to happen is just tragic and heartbreaking. I haven’t slept for three days, you can probably tell and I am just exhausted.’
Tahnee Shanks, 32, (pictured right) originally from the Whitsundays, Queensland, is missing in Mexico where she was on vacation
Jorge Aguirre Astudillo has not been seen since May 2 when he was with Australian native Tahnee Shanks, the mother of his two-year-old daughter
His comments came as further details emerged about how the two-year-old was found.
An urgent message posted to Facebook alerted the local community in the state of Yucatán that the girl had bizarrely been found.
Mr Shanks said his niece was ‘dumped’ at a church in the Mexican tourist town late at night and was found wandering the streets.
As for his sister, she sent photos of the beaches they were visiting but ‘next minute nothing from her’.
He has offered a $5,000 reward for his sister’s safe return and has spent the last few days dealing with Mexican and Australian authorities
The last known photos of Ms Shanks and Mr Astudillo show them in Las Coloradas, Yucatán, 93 miles from where their daughter was found in Cancún on Mexico’s tropical southern tip.
Two-year-old Adelynn is now under the care of Australian relatives after she was found alone at a church in Cancun as her parents are reported missing
Tahnee Shanks (pictured right) had been traveling with her ex-partner Jorge Aguirre Astudillo (middle) and their daughter (left) in Mexico before she was reported as missing
Tahnee Shanks and Adelynn were due to return to Australia in June. The two-year-old was found by neighbours at the Chapel of the San Archangel (pictured)
Tahnee’s two-year-old daughter Adelynn was found wandering the streets late at night
One of the pictures shows Ms Shanks standing on the flatbed of a pickup truck and holding Adelynn with the beach in the distance.
Ms Shanks has no family in Mexico with her, but is normally active on social media. However, her family hasn’t heard from her in several days.
Daniel has been trying to contact Mr Astudillo, who drives a white Toyota Tundra.
Daily Mail Australia doesn’t suggest that the ex-partner is involved in her disappearance.
A police public appeal for information about Ms Shanks’ whereabouts have been widely shared on both sides of the world.
Daniel Shanks said his sister had ended her relationship with Mr Astudillo and was weeks away from heading home back to Australia with her daughter in June.
A law enforcement official (right) holds Adelynn in his arms after she was found outside a Cancún church
Australian mother Tahnee Shanks shared with her family photos of her beach outing to Los Cuyos in Yucatán, Mexico, before she and the father of the two-year-old daughter went missing
Ms Shanks moved eight years ago from Australia to Merida, Mexico. She split from her partner a year after Adelynn was born.
‘She would have been home months ago,’ Daniel Shanks told ABC.
‘She thought she could get home easily, but America had shut down visas for Mexican-born people for a period because of Covid. She’s had to go and get an Australian citizenship and passport for Addy to try and divert around that issue.’
Witnesses say they saw a man pass Adelynn to a stranger in front of a church in the 220 Quintana Roo district.
Another brother, Benjamin Shanks, told 7News he had received a call on Tuesday from his sister’s former Australian boyfriend who had originally lived with her when they travelled to Mexico.
The man told him that a video was circulating on Mexican social media pages of a young girl found outside of a Cancún chapel.
He watched the video and the Mackay-based Shanks family recognised the girl as their niece and connected it with Ms Shanks’ inactive social media accounts.
Australian mother Tahnee Shanks (pictured with her ex-partner Jorge Aguirre Astudillo) has gone missing in Mexico
Tahnee Shanks’ family raised the alarm after they were made aware of photos being circulated of little Adelynn wandering Cancún alone late at night
Tahnee Shanks’ family insists she would never leave her little girl, who turned two last November
Ms Shanks had been living in Yucatán capital of Merida. She was waiting to receive her toddler’s passport and had booked plane tickets to arrive in Australia on June 22.
The Shanks family and friends are fearing the worst.
‘She’s never off social media and she would never leave that girl. That’s the scariest thing,’ Ben Shanks told the outlet.
‘We know Tahnee wouldn’t leave that girl on her own.’
Concerned friends also hold grave fears for Ms Shanks.
‘She is a very dedicated mother and would never abandon her daughter. Something serious had to happen for the little girl to find herself alone,’ a family friend wrote.
Mexico Police have launched a desperate search for missing Australian Tahnee Shanks
Tahnee Shanks (pictured middle) was on vacation with her ex-partner (right) and her daughter (left) when she vanished in Mexico, a continent away from any of her family
Tahnee Shanks’ mother and brother are on their way to Mexico to find out what happened to her
The devoted mum’s social media pages are full of happy snaps of her little girl.
The mother had been traveling the world since she was 18 and describes herself on social media as a ‘Happy Hippy Ginger Ninja meeting around the world one country at a time.’
Before she went overseas, she worked in Australia as an assistant nurse looking after the elderly, which she described as a rewarding career.
‘The travel bug bit me in 2010 taking me on my first 18 month journey through Asia and parts of Europe volunteering and couch surfing my way across the country,’ the freelance writer wrote on a travel blog for the Whitsundays.
Shanks returned home and saved for two years and then headed back overseas traveling through Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and the United States before settling in Mexico.
She is described as having a fair complexion, and has red hair, light brown eyes, 5 feet 4 inches tall, thin build and has a distinctive tattoo along her right thigh.