Two of four Americans kidnapped at gunpoint in Mexico confirmed dead

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According to officials in Mexico and the US, two of the four Americans who were kidnapped at gunpoint in Mexico last week are dead, while the other two are still alive and have returned to the US.

On March 3, four US citizens were taken hostage by armed men as they entered Matamoros, a city in the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas, which is separated from Texas by a border.

Family members told US media that they had gone there for cosmetic surgery.
An unidentified 24-year-old Tamaulipas guy, José “N,” has been taken into custody.

John Kirby, a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, said: “We send our sincere sympathies to the friends and families of those who were slain in these acts.”

Irving Barrios Mojica, the attorney general of Tamaulipas, announced in a tweet that the two remaining victims were brought to the US on Tuesday in collaboration with the US consulate in Matamoros.

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A convoy of the Mexican military was sent to bring them back while providing armed escort.

Afterwards, the FBI reported that two Americans were discovered deceased and the other two had been taken to US hospitals for treatment.

According to the FBI, “one of the surviving victims” was seriously hurt during the assault.

To “bring those responsible for this horrible and violent attack accountable for their crimes,” the agency stressed in the statement that it would cooperate with other law enforcement authorities and foreign partners.

Officials from the US reported that the bodies of Shaeed Woodard and Zindell Brown had been found and were being sent home.

The statement from the president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, reads in part, “We are very sad that this happened in our country. We express our sympathies to the families of the victims, friends, and the United States government. We will keep working to ensure peace and tranquility.”

Family members identified Latavia “Tay” McGee, a South Carolina mother of six, and Eric James Williams as the injured Americans.

The four were traveling in a white minivan with North Carolina license plates through Matamoros, a 500,000-population border city, when unidentified gunmen opened fire, according to the FBI this week. Matamoros is located just across the border from Brownsville, Texas.

On video, armed guys can be seen putting them in a pickup truck.

Several are dragged to the truck while appearing to be unconscious, while one is manhandled onto the vehicle.

Last Friday’s incident resulted in the death of a Mexican woman, who was a bystander and was thought to be 33 years old and located more than a block away.

The four Americans were found at a wooden house outside Matamoros, according to Mexican authorities, who confirmed the arrest of a 24-year-old male at a news conference later on Tuesday.

Between the abduction on Friday and the victims’ discovery on Tuesday, the captives were moved about “to create confusion,” according to authorities.

A US law enforcement source informed CBS that investigators believe the Gulf Cartel, one of the country’s first organized crime organizations, is to blame for the attack.

Uncertainty persists on the Americans’ exact circumstances, including whether they were ambushed, misidentified as rival drug dealers, or harmed by stray bullets from rival gangs.

The probe is still in its early stages, US State Department sources stated on Tuesday.

According to reports, Ms. McGee was going to the border town in Mexico to undergo a stomach tuck, a procedure that uses cosmetic surgery to eliminate abdominal fat.

In an interview with ABC News, her mother, Barbara Burgess, said she had implored her daughter not to attend but that she had promised her that she would be safe.

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For the return of the Americans, the FBI offered a $50,000 (£42,000) reward.

The US State Department recommends travelers not to travel to six Mexican states, including Matamoros, because of “crime and kidnapping”.

Those who reside in US border states frequently travel for medical treatment.

To be sure, Matamoros is among the most dangerous places in the nation since Tamaulipas is largely under the authority of drug gangs, who have more clout than the local police.

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