Mirjana Puhar, a 19-year-old former contestant on “America’s Next Top Model,” was found dead in a home with two other people in Charlotte on Tuesday.
The aspiring model appeared on cycle 21 of the show, and finished as the eighth runner up. Aged 18 during the filming, she was that season’s youngest contestant.
Police found Puhar, along with her boyfriend, Jonathan Cosme Alvarado, and another man, Jusmar Isiah Gonzaga-Garcia, dead in a home on Tuesday evening, according to Reuters. A suspect, Emmanuel Jesus Rangel, 19, was charged with the crime, which police believe is drug related, the Charlotte Observer reported. Police say the victims knew their attacker.
ANTM executive producers Ken Mok and Tyra Banks issued a statement mourning Puhar’s loss.
“She was a vivacious and promising young woman. Our hearts and prayers go out to her loved ones,” they said, according to NBC News.
The Top Model family is deeply saddened by the tragic news of Mirjana Puhar. We love you, Mirjana. Forever.
— Tyra Banks (@tyrabanks) February 26, 2015
The show’s second runner-up, Will Jardell, posted a photo tribute to his co-contestant on Instagram:
— Miss J Alexander (@MissJAlexander) February 25, 2015
— MatthewStephenSmith (@MatthewSmith3o3) February 25, 2015
Born in Serbia, Puhar fled war with her family. They moved to New York City with just $50 when she was 5 years old. They later moved to North Carolina, she told the Charlotte Observer last year.
She began modeling when she was 12 and dropped out of high school at 16.
Puhar spoke candidly about her “wild” childhood and her decision to eventually get her GED. But she also hoped that even after the show, she could maintain some privacy.
“I don’t want people dabbling in my personal life, and I’m pretty sure they’re gonna do that after seeing the show,” she told the Observer. “Once you watch the show, and you see what they get into, and what I speak about … then I’m pretty sure they’re gonna try to get into (my past).”