© 2024 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Mexican president: Four kidnapped U.S. citizens have been found, and two are dead

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador receives an update from Governor of Tamaulipas Americo Villarreal during a press conference in Mexico City on Tuesday.
Beata Zawrzel
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador receives an update from Tamaulipas Gov. Americo Villarreal during a press conference in Mexico City on Tuesday.

Get TPR's best stories of the day and a jump start to the weekend with the 321 Newsletter — straight to your inbox every day. Sign up for it here.

Four U.S. citizens abducted in Matamoros, Mexico, were found on Tuesday, and two were dead.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador confirmed the deaths during his Tuesday morning press conference, when the governor of Tamaulipas, Américo Villarreal, updated the president that the four Americans were located.

Villareal also confirmed that one of the surviving citizens was wounded. The other was not.

He said that the discovery of the Americans was confirmed by the State Prosecutor's Office and added that "of the four there are two of them dead, one person injured and the other alive," but he did not offer more details.

"Right now the ambulances and the security personnel are going to provide the medical support that may be required," Villarreal added.

During the same conference, Secretary of Security Rosa Icela Rodríguez said a suspect was arrested.

The four Americans had been identified as cousins Latavia McGee and Shaeed Woodard, and their friends Zindell Brown and Eric James Williams. The group had traveled to Matamoros, according to family reports, to accompany McGee, who was planning to undergo cosmetic surgery.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the FBI verified the information about the four missing Americans. The agency offered condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims.

It said it was working to return the victims' remains to the United States. It also explained that the two survivors were receiving medical treatment in U.S. hospitals.

A criminal investigation was underway. The FBI said it would work with the State Department, the DEA and other federal and international agencies.

The FBI announced a $50,000 reward for any information that leads to the arrest of any other people involved. The public may submit anonymous tips and comments online or call the FBI San Antonio Division at 210-225-6741.

The U.S. consulate in Matamoros issued an alert to avoid the area after reports of the incident. The Mexican state of Tamaulipas is currently classified as aLevel 4: Do not travel area in the State Department's travel advisory for Mexico.

As Tuesday's events unfolded, vehicle and foot traffic at the Gateway International Bridge, which connects Brownsville and Matamoros, flowed normally.

One Brownsville woman, identified only at Veronica, said Monday's incident concerned her. She said she travels to Matamoros for her children’s medical care and worried for their safety.

Matamoros resident Gilberto Gonzalez found himself at the scene of last week’s kidnapping. He said that at that moment, when he was walking by, he was stopped and questioned and could not pass.

Gonzalez works in a shopping plaza near the site of the kidnapping. He watched as Mexican and U.S. authorities investigated the incident. He said he felt admiration that they were coordinating in this way — each doing their duty.

TPR was founded by and is supported by our community. If you value our commitment to the highest standards of responsible journalism and are able to do so, please consider making your gift of support today.

Gaige Davila is the Border and Immigration Reporter for Texas Public Radio.