MEXICO CITY (Reuters) -Two of four Americans kidnapped by gunmen on Friday when they drove into Mexico have been found dead, and the two survivors have returned to the United States, the local government said on Tuesday. “Of the four, two of them have died, there’s one person injured, and the other person is alive,” […]
Two of four Americans kidnapped by gunmen in Mexico found dead
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) -Two of four Americans kidnapped by gunmen on Friday when they drove into Mexico have been found dead, and the two survivors have returned to the United States, the local government said on Tuesday.
“Of the four, two of them have died, there’s one person injured, and the other person is alive,” Americo Villarreal, governor of the northern border state of Tamaulipas where the four crossed into, said on a call with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador as the latter held a daily news conference.
Later, Tamaulipas’ Attorney General Irving Barrios said on Twitter that the two surviving Americans had been handed over to U.S. officials at the border with Texas. A Mexican official told Reuters the lone woman in the group was not injured.
The kidnappings have put a spotlight on U.S. concerns over widespread gang violence in Mexico.
Republicans, in particular, have been pushing for the U.S. government to take a tougher line on Mexican organized crime amid rising drug-related overdose deaths.
ABC News on Monday named the four people as Latavia “Tay” McGee, Shaeed Woodard, Zindell Brown and Eric James Williams.
A Tamaulipas official said the two survivors identified themselves as Latavia McGee and Eric James Williams.
Authorities said that a Mexican bystander was killed when the four were abducted last week.
The U.S. government was working with Mexican officials to find out more about the kidnapping and to get the victims home, White House spokesman John Kirby said.
“Attacks on U.S. citizens are unacceptable, no matter where,” he told a news briefing.
Lopez Obrador expressed his “sincere condolences” and said one person was in custody over the kidnapping in Tamaulipas, which has long been one of the most violent, gang-ridden states in Mexico. He pledged to bring the perpetrators to justice.
But he lashed out at what he cast as “tabloid” coverage of the incident, and accused the media of not giving the same attention to killings of Mexicans in the United States.
The four Americans were in a white minivan when they entered the border city of Matamoros, Tamaulipas, on Friday.
Gunmen fired on the passengers shortly after they crossed into Mexico and then herded them into another vehicle before fleeing the scene, according to the U.S. embassy in Mexico.
U.S. media reported that McGee was traveling with the group to Mexico to get cosmetic surgery.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland also offered his condolences and said he had been briefed by the FBI on the matter. He did not comment on reports of the deaths.
(Reporting by Dave Graham and Brendan O’Boyle; Additional reporting by Lizbeth Diaz in Mexico City, and David Shepardson, Steve Holland and Susan Heavey in Washington D.C.editing by Stephen Eisenhammer, Susan Fenton and Deepa Babington)
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