Two of the four U.S. citizens violently kidnapped south of the Mexican border last week have been found dead, while the other two are alive.
The discovery of the four Americans kidnapped Friday in the border city of Matamoros was confirmed by the governor of the state they were abducted, Tamaulipas Gov. Américo Villarreal, who cited information from prosecutors, the Associated Press reported.
He did not disclose how or where the victims were found, and did not elaborate on the injured victim’s condition. He said, “Right now, the ambulances and the rest of the security personnel are going to give the corresponding support.”
Gunmen abducted the four Americans on Friday when they were caught in crossfire between rival drug gangs shortly after crossing the border. Footage circulated on social media appearing to show victims being loaded into the back of a white pick-up truck.
The victims were close friends, three of whom were accompanying the other on a trip to get a tummy tuck surgery, AP reported. Zalandria Brown of Florence, South Carolina, who said her brother Zindell was one of the victims, said, “Zindell kept saying, ‘We shouldn’t go down.'”
The State Department classifies the state of Tamaulipas as a “Do Not Travel To” area due to the risk of crime and kidnapping. The city is home to the Gulf Cartel, a decades-old drug-smuggling group that has split into rival factions over recent years.
The FBI announced on Sunday that it was offering a $50,000 reward for the return of the victims and the arrest of their captors.
Their abduction coincided with reported shootings that day in Matamoros, but it is not confirmed to be related. Tamaulipas state authorities urged Matamoros residents to stay indoors Friday following “armed incidents” that resulted in an unspecified number of injuries and deaths, according to Crisis24.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said there had been “a confrontation between groups, and they were detained,” and the chief state prosecutor said a Mexican woman died Friday in a Matamoros shooting, as reported by AP.