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Four Kidnapped Americans in Mexico: 2 Dead, 2 Alive

March 7, 2023 | By Kali Girl

According to CNN, tragic news emerged from Matamoros, the Mexico border city, as four Americans were kidnapped by armed gunmen on Friday. However, two of the four abductees were found alive on Tuesday, according to both US and Mexican officials.

Unfortunately, a US official confirmed to CNN that Shaeed Woodard and Zindell Brown were found deceased. Mexican authorities will conduct an examination of their bodies before turning them over to the US government.

The survivors were identified as Latavia Washington McGee, a mother of six, and Eric Williams. Both individuals were transported to a Texas hospital for treatment and observation. Fortunately, Washington McGee was found unharmed while Williams suffered a bullet wound to the leg.

Tamaulipas Governor Américo Villarreal shared that one person was taken into custody in connection with the incident, however officials have not disclosed if the individual is associated with a criminal organization.

According to Villarreal, the victims were found in a “wooden house” in Matamoros and had been relocated to several locations over a period of days, “in order to create confusion and prevent rescue efforts.”

The whereabouts of the four Americans came days after the abduction, and it is believed to be a circumstance of mistaken identity.

The group, comprising of a close-knit set of friends from South Carolina, had traveled to Mexico to accompany Washington McGee for a medical procedure. However, the group never arrived at their intended destination, reported by family members who spoke to CNN.

According to reports, the group crossed into Matamoros, located in the state of Tamaulipas, around 9:18 a.m. last Friday. However, they got lost while trying to locate the medical clinic, according to a friend of Washington McGee who wished to remain anonymous. The group attempted to contact the doctor’s office for assistance but were hindered by a poor cellphone signal.

According to the FBI, after crossing the border, they were fired upon by unidentified gunmen, “placed in a vehicle and taken from the scene by armed men.”

According to a US official, investigators suspect that a Mexican cartel may have mistaken a group for Haitian drug smugglers. The official noted that investigators have not found any criminal history concerning the US citizens. An innocent Mexican bystander was hit by a stray bullet and also killed during the incident.

This abduction emphasizes the ongoing violence that plagues various Mexican cities amid the long-standing drug war, as well as the surging business of “medical tourism.”

With a population exceeding 500,000, Matamoros is adjacent to Brownsville, Texas, separated only by the Rio Grande. American citizens are advised to exercise caution when travelling to Tamaulipas.

The US State Department raised its advisory to a “Level 4: Do Not Travel” warning, citing the increasing risks of crime and kidnapping.

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