2 kidnapped Americans found dead in Mexico and 2 others alive, officials say
Two of the four U.S. citizens who went missing after a violent kidnapping in Mexico last week have been found dead and two are alive, Mexican authorities said on Tuesday. Tamaulipas Gov. Américo Villarreal said that one of the surviving U.S. citizens was wounded and the other was not.
The office of the attorney general for the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, where the Americans disappeared on Friday, announced on Facebook that all four people had been found.
“Investigation and intelligence work continues to capture those responsible,” the statement read.
The group of Americans were found as a result of joint search operations, according to the attorney general, but how officials ultimately located and rescued them remained unclear.
“Of the four, two of them are dead, one person is wounded and the other is alive and right now the ambulances and the rest of the security personnel are going for them for give the corresponding support,” Villarreal said .
The governor did not share any details about where or how they were found or the nature of the wounded American’s injuries.
CBS News has learned that the kidnapped Americans are Latavia “Tay” McGee, Shaeed Woodard, Eric James Williams and Zindell Brown. Mexican officials have not released any information about who died and who survived.
Officials previously said a Mexican woman had also died in Friday’s crossfire. Her identity is not known.
The Americans were kidnapped after gunmen opened fire on their vehicle in Matamoros, a border city in northern Mexico, the FBI said earlier this week. All four people had driven from Brownsville, Texas, to Mexico on Friday in a white minivan with North Carolina license plates. Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Monday that the four Americans had crossed the border to purchase medicine and found themselves caught in crossfire between two groups of armed individuals.
Their car was hit by gunshots soon after the group grossed the border in Matamoros, the FBI San Antonio Division office reported in a statement issued on Sunday.
“All four Americans were placed in a vehicle and taken from the scene by armed men,” the office said. At the time, the FBI announced a $50,000 reward in exchange for the victims’ return as well as the kidnappers’ arrests.
A video posted to Twitter on Friday raised national concerns as it appeared to show the moment the Americans were kidnapped, CBS News’ Christina Ruffini previously reported. In the video, a woman is seen walking alone before being forced into a white pickup truck. Men armed with guns and wearing bulletproof vests then appeared to force several others into the vehicle. At least two of the victims were seen being dragged across pavement toward the truck.
On Monday, the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar said in a statement that the Americans were “violently kidnapped at gunpoint” and that U.S. agencies were coordinating with their counterparts in Mexico to recover the missing people.
President Joe Biden was also briefed on the situation, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at a Monday news conference.
“These sorts of attacks are unacceptable,” Jean-Pierre told reporters. “Our thoughts are with the families of these individuals and we stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance.”
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.