The FBI, federal partners, and local authorities are continuing to investigate the kidnapping of four Americans in Mexico on Friday.
The Americans arrived in Matamoros, in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, just south of Brownsville, Texas, in a white minivan with North Carolina licence plates on Friday, according to the US Embassy in Mexico City.
“Unidentified gunmen shot the passengers of the vehicle shortly after crossing into Mexico. The gunmen herded the four Americans into another vehicle and fled the scene “According to the embassy.
Latavia “Tay” McGee, Shaeed Woodard, Zindell Brown, and Eric James Williams have been identified as the four Americans. McGee and her cousin Woodard, as well as their friends Brown and Williams, were among the victims in Matamoros, according to her mother.
According to sources close to the Mexican investigation, a North Carolina driver’s licence belonging to Williams was also discovered at the scene.McGee’s mother, Barbara Burgess, 54, told that her daughter travelled from South Carolina to Mexico for a cosmetic medical procedure and that she had warned her not to go.
“Ma, I’ll be fine,” McGee replied on Wednesday before leaving, according to Burgess.
The United States Ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar, met with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Monday in Mexico City, as the condition and whereabouts of four Americans kidnapped at gunpoint remain unknown.
According to the FBI, the unidentified Americans were ambushed Friday by gunmen who opened fire on the group as they crossed from Brownsville, Texas, into Matamoros, Tamaulipas. The Americans were in a white minivan with licence plates from North Carolina.
Before fleeing the scene, the kidnappers loaded all four into another vehicle.
Salazar stated that during the attack, an innocent Mexican citizen was killed.
“There is no greater priority than the safety of our citizens – this is the most fundamental role of the US government,” the ambassador said in a statement.
Salazar stated that various law enforcement agencies are collaborating with Mexican authorities “at all levels of government” to ensure the safe return of their citizens.
The FBI is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the capture and return of the Americans.He did not explain how he or other officials arrived at the conclusion, but he did tell reporters that he had spoken with the governor of Tamaulipas.
“There was a clash between groups, and they were detained,” said López Obrador. “Everyone in government is working on it.”
“I think it will get resolved, that’s what I hope,” he added.
According to AWN NEWS, an unnamed US official stated that the US citizens “travelled to the border city of Matamoros for medical procedures,” citing receipts found in the abandoned vehicle.
Officials with the FBI told NPR that they would not comment on López Obrador’s remarks or reports of the receipts.Brown stated that her brother, who lives in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and two other friends accompanied a third friend to Mexico for tummy tuck surgery.
According to Brown, the four friends were extremely close and had planned to divide driving duties for the trip. They were aware of the dangers in Mexico, and her brother had expressed reservations.
“We shouldn’t go down,” Zindell kept saying, according to Brown. “This is like a nightmare from which you wish you could awaken. It’s unimaginable to see a member of your family thrown into the back of a truck and dragged.”Mr. López Obrador stated that he spoke with the governor of Tamaulipas about the kidnappings over the weekend.
“I believe it will be resolved,” Mr. López Obrador stated. “That’s my hope.”
According to Reuters, three men and one woman were kidnapped in Mexico.
Tamaulipas is one of six states in Mexico that the US state department advises travellers not to visit because of “crime and kidnapping”.
It is regarded as one of Mexico’s most dangerous regions, where drug cartels control much of the territory and frequently wield more power than local law enforcement.
The FBI is appealing for public assistance and offering a $50,000 (£41,620) reward for information leading to the return of the missing Americans.
The FBI is appealing for public assistance and offering a $50,000 (£41,620) reward for information leading to the release of the kidnapped Americans and the arrest of the kidnappers.