Abducted Americans in Mexico Found

Written By: Valeria Novoa, Ariana Pareja

What was supposed to be a vacation to Matamoros, Mexico soon became a tragedy for four individuals. These individuals, Eric James Williams, Zindell Brown and cousins Latavia “Tay” McGee and Shaeed Woodard, were American citizens that traveled to Mexico for medical reasons. Their objective was to attend a tummy tuck appointment, but unfortunately, as they drove across the border of Brownsville Texas, they were unable to contact the clinic due to poor connection. They then found themselves being “…fired upon by unidentified gunmen” which is when they were “placed in a vehicle and taken from the scene by armed men,” according to the FBI. 

The disappearance of these four Americans occurred on March 3rd, 2023. During the span of their disappearance, the FBI was offering a “$50,000 reward for the return of the four American citizens…” They were later found on March 7th in a house in Matamoros, Mexico. 

Though they were all found, only half of them were found alive. There were only two survivors and one of them was wounded  due to a gunshot injury. The citizens that were found dead were killed as a result of  the shootout that occurred before the kidnapping. Apart from the group that traveled together. A female citizen was also killed in the shootout in the scene. 

The reason for this kidnapping is still unknown. It is believed that the kidnapping was a mistake made by the Mexican cartel. These American citizens were suspected to be mistaken for “Haitian drug smugglers.” On Friday March 10th, the police were able to find five men. “ABC News has geolocated that location as the same area where the U.S. citizens were kidnapped one week ago.” These men had their hands tied and they were found near a pickup truck at the scene. On the windshield of the truck, investigators spotted a handwritten note , which they believe was written by the Gulf cartel. This cartel is considered to be  “the dominant organized crime group in that part of Mexico.”

The find highlighted the fact that the cartel apologized for the behavior of some members and apologized for  the kidnapping and killings on their part.  As an apology the cartel left these five members on the scene of the kidnapping in order for the police to deal with them. The five members who were left with the police will be held custody for the next 6 months while the investigation goes on.  According to ABC News “Neither ABC News nor U.S. officials have been able to independently verify the authenticity of the note.” 

So far authorities were able to apprehend a 24 year old man that was suspected to be connected to the kidnapping. He is being charged with aggravated kidnapping according to the Attorney General’s Office of Tamaulipas.

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