UPDATED 3/8, 4:40 p.m. ET: In an interview with CNN's Don Lemon, one of the surviving Americans' mothers spoke about what she was told about the kidnapping that left two friends dead.
In the interview, it was revealed that the surviving victims of the fatal kidnapping were moved "from place to place" as they avoided authorities. "She said they had drove…they were going through…a van came up and hit them,” said Barbara McLeod Burgess, mother of kidnapping victim LaTavia Washington McGee. ”And that’s when they start shooting at the car. ... Some of them tried to run, and they got shot at the same time. … They all got shot at the same time. And she watched them die.”
As Lemon noted, McLeod Burgess actually helped raise Shaeed, who died in the gunfire during the ordeal. “His mother had passed away when he was like 15, and I’ve had him ever since then,” she said, describing him as a “son” to her. “I miss him, I loved him. Ain’t nothing I wouldn’t do for him.”
UPDATED 3/7, 11:26 a.m. ET: Two of the four Americans reported to have been kidnapped in Mexico have been confirmed to have died.
Per a report from the Associated Press, Tamaulipas Gov. Américo Villarreal said Tuesday that two of the four individuals had been found dead, while the remaining two are alive. Of the remaining two, one is said to be wounded, although the extent of their injuries had not been confirmed at the time of this writing.
According to a relative of one of the Americans, the group traveled from South Carolina to Mexico so that one of them could get a tummy tuck in the city of Matamoros.
See original story below.
The FBI is searching for four U.S. citizens who were kidnapped by armed gunmen in Mexico, the U.S. Embassy in the country’s capital has confirmed, per People.
As detailed by the embassy on Sunday (March 5), the group of U.S. citizens traveled into Matamoros in a white minivan with North Carolina plates last week. Upon crossing the border into Mexico, a group of unidentified attackers shot at the vehicle’s passengers. One of the individuals in the attack then moved the four to another vehicle, and fled the scene. As reported by the Associated Press, Tamaulipas state police said that multiple people had been killed and injured on Friday.
“All four Americans were placed in a vehicle and taken from the scene by armed men,” said the FBI San Antonio Division. The FBI is offering a $50,000 reward for the safe return of the U.S. citizens, and the arrest of the suspects involved in their kidnapping. U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar, in a statement released on Monday, said the Americans were taken at gunpoint and an “innocent” Mexican bystander died in the attack. No further details on the abduction were given.
Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador added that two armed groups exchanged fire, and the Americans crossed the border to buy medicine when they were caught in the crossfire. The city of Matamoros is in the middle of a conflict between warring factions of drug cartels, and the U.S. consulate even issued a shelter in place alert about the shootouts on Friday.
“There have been two armed incidents between unidentified civilians,” the state police said. “The exact number of the fallen is being corroborated.” The identities of the kidnapped Americans have not been released by authorities.