Lowcountry Headlines

Lowcountry Headlines


MEXICO: Missing Americans from S.C. found; 2 dead; 1 wounded; 1 unharmed

Close-Up Of Woman Getting Kidnapped

Photo: Getty Images

The family spokesperson said they were contacted by the FBI on Monday to confirm that she and three of her friends were taken

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF/AP/NBC) – A Mexican official says two U.S. citizens missing since their violent abduction Friday in the northern Mexican border city of Matamoros have been found dead and two others were alive.

Tamaulipas Gov. Américo Villarreal said Tuesday that one of the surviving U.S. citizens was wounded and the other was not.

Villarreal confirmed the deaths by phone during a morning news conference by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, saying details about the four abducted Americans had been confirmed by prosecutors, according to the Associated Press.

“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 additional details about where or how they were found.

A family spokesperson identified one of the victims as Myrtle Beach resident LaTavia Washington McGee, who is also a native of Lake City.

The family spokesperson said they were contacted by the FBI on Monday to confirm that McGee and three of her friends were taken.

Zalandria Brown, of Florence, told the AP she learned that her younger brother, Zindell Brown, also a native of Lake City, is one of the four victims. She has also been in contact with the FBI and local officials.

Zalandria Brown told the AP her brother and two friends had accompanied a third friend who was going to Mexico for cosmetic surgery.

The wife of Eric Williams confirmed her husband was taken during the kidnapping.

Shaeed Woodard is reportedly the fourth person kidnapped in Mexico.

All four people are natives of Lake City.

At this point, it’s not clear which two were killed, who was hurt and who was left unharmed.

A law enforcement official with knowledge of the matter tells NBC News there is no evidence the Americans drove into a gunfight. The evidence is they were targeted by Cartel gunmen after they crossed the border, in a case of mistaken identity. There was a chase and shots were fired at them. The source said one theory is that the Cartel believed these were Haitian people smugglers encroaching on their turf.

They came under fire on Friday shortly after entering the city of Matamoros from Brownsville, the southernmost tip of Texas near the Gulf coast, the FBI San Antonio Division office said in a statement Sunday.

The FBI office in San Antonio said that all four Americans were placed in a vehicle and taken away from the scene by armed men.

The FBI and Mexican law enforcement agencies are investigating the kidnapping while the Departments of State and Homeland Security are coordinating with Mexican authorities.

The FBI is offering a $50,000 reward for the victims’ return and the arrest of the kidnappers.

Shootouts in Matamoros on Friday were so bad that the U.S. Consulate issued an alert about the danger and local authorities warned people to shelter in place. It was not immediately clear how the abductions could have been connected to that violence Friday.

Copyright 2023 WMBF and Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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