A governor of a Mexican state said that two of the four Americans who were taken hostage at gunpoint in Mexico last week are dead and that the other two are still alive.
Armed men kidnaped four American citizens on March 3 as they entered the city of Matamoros in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, north of the Texas border.
Relatives told the US media that they had gone there to get plastic surgery. On Tuesday, 6 March 2023, John Kirby, a spokesman for the Pentagon, seemed to confirm the deaths.
“We offer our deepest condolences to the friends and families of those who were killed in these attacks,” he said, adding that all attacks on US citizens were “unacceptable, no matter where or under what circumstances they occur”.
The two surviving victims were delivered to the US on Tuesday in co-operation with the US consulate in Matamoros, Tamaulipas Attorney General Irving Barrios Mojica said in a tweet.
During a news conference, Américo Villarreal Anaya, the governor of Tamaulipas, said that the office of Mexico’s Attorney General had confirmed the deaths of the two people.
A Mexican official told Reuters that two men had been found dead and that another man and a woman were safe and in the hands of authorities.
Mr. Villarreal said that “ambulances and security staff” were on their way to help the survivors get medical help.
The Tamaulipas State Attorney General said in a statement that the Americans were found after a joint search. The statement did not say how the Americans were found.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said, “We are very sorry that this happened in our country. We send our condolences to the families of the victims, their friends, and the U.S. government, and we will keep working to keep peace.”
The Americans were named as Latavia “Tay” McGee, Shaeed Woodard, Eric James Williams, and Zindell Brown by the US news partner of the BBC, CBS News.
The FBI said this week that unidentified gunmen opened fire on the four as they drove through Matamoros, a city of 500,000 people right across the border from Brownsville, Texas. They were in a white minivan with North Carolina license plates.
Men with lots of guns can be seen putting them into a pickup truck on video. One person is helped onto the vehicle, and others, who look like they are unconscious, are dragged to the truck.
Last Friday, a Mexican woman who may have been a bystander was killed.
Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that what happened was a “clash between armed groups.”
CNN quoted an unnamed US official as saying that investigators think a Mexican drug cartel probably thought the Americans were Haitian drug smugglers.
People said that Ms. McGee was going to the border town in Mexico to get a tummy tuck, a cosmetic surgery procedure that removes fat from the stomach.
Her mother, Barbara Burgess, told ABC News that she had asked her daughter not to go, but that her daughter had told her she would be safe.
The FBI had offered a reward of $50,000 (£42,000) for their safe return.
Matamoros is in Tamaulipas state, one of six Mexican states that the US State Department advises travelers not to visit because of “crime and kidnapping”.
Medical tourism is common, particularly among people living in US border states.
But Matamoros is one of the most dangerous cities in the country, as drug cartels control large swathes of the state of Tamaulipas and can hold more power than local law enforcement.
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