Two of the Americans who were recently kidnapped in Mexico have been found dead, according to officials.
A third is wounded and the fourth was found physically unharmed, the Tamaulipas governor, Américo Villarreal, told reporters on Tuesday.
No other details about how the Americans were found were immediately released.
The four Americans had gone to Mexico because one of them was getting a cosmetic surgery procedure known as a tummy tuck, a victim’s relative has said.
Zalandria Brown of Florence, South Carolina, told the Association Press that her younger brother, Zindell Brown, was one of the four kidnapped victims. She explained that her brother had gone with two friends to accompany their third friend who was the one undergoing the tummy tuck.
The four had traveled in a white minivan with North Carolina license plates on Friday when they got caught up in a shootout shortly after entering the Mexican city of Matamoros, Tamaulipas, from Brownsville, Texas, FBI officials said in a statement on Sunday. An “innocent” Mexican national was killed during the shootout, and men wielding rifles put the four Americans into the back of a pickup truck at gunpoint and drove them away, authorities have said.
ABC News identified Zindell Brown’s three friends as Latavia “Tay” McGee, Shaeed Woodard and Eric James Williams.
Zalandria Brown said her brother was nervous about making the trip, saying: “We shouldn’t go.” But the friend group was close and decided to go together to split up the driving, Zalandria Brown added in her interview with the AP, which was published on Tuesday.
The AP reported that video on social media on Friday showed the four being put in the back of the truck. One was alive and sitting up, and the others appeared either dead or wounded, according to the AP’s report.
“At least one person appeared to lift his head from the pavement before being dragged to the truck,” the AP report also noted.
The FBI was offering a $50,000 reward for the returns of Brown, McGee, Woodard and Williams as well as the arrests of those who took them. It was not immediately clear whether that reward would be collected.
Warring arring fractions of the Gulf drug cartel call Matamoros home. Thousands of Mexicans have disappeared amid the violence, spurred on by cartel leadership changes and bloody infighting.
The US state department warns Americans not to travel to Tamaulipas. However, its location on the border means Americans – especially in Brownsville or elsewhere in Texas – frequently cross to visit family, attend medical appointments or shop. It is also a crossing for people.
Source The Guardian