Mexican governor says kidnapped Americans found: 2 dead, 1 wounded
Two of the Americans who were kidnapped at gunpoint just over the Mexican border on Friday have been found dead, while two others were found alive with one wounded, a Mexican state governor said Tuesday.
Tamaulipas Gov. Américo Villarreal said that the fourth kidnapping victim had no injuries, according to The Associated Press. The FBI revealed on Sunday that the group of four Americans were kidnapped by armed men on Friday, and asked for the public’s assistance in helping locate them.
The four Americans were in a white minivan with North Carolina license plates and were taken by the gunmen just after crossing into Matamoros in Tamaulipas, Mexico.
The FBI confirmed the deaths on Tuesday evening, saying in a statement that the two surviving victims of the kidnapping were receiving care at a local hospital in Brownsville, Texas. One of the survivors suffered “serious bodily injuries” as a result of the attack, the FBI said.
“Earlier today, the FBI was notified that Mexican authorities had located the four missing American victims who were kidnapped on March 3 in Matamoros, Mexico. The FBI is saddened to report that two of the victims are deceased. We would like to express our heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the families and loved ones of the victims in this tragic event,” the statement read.
The FBI added that the incident remains an ongoing criminal investigation, and that it will work with other federal agencies and international partners to “determine the facts of what happened and to hold those responsible for this horrific and violent attack accountable for their crimes.” The agency said that FBI Victim Services is working with the victims and their families to help them recover, and that the FBI is working with the State Department to recover the deceased victims.
Several media outlets had reported on Tuesday that the group was traveling to Mexico for a medical procedure.
The State Department has a Level 4 warning in place for the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, warning Americans to not travel there due to crime and kidnapping, which it says is common along the northern border.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Monday that that the kidnapping was “unacceptable,” and that U.S. law enforcement agencies were working with Mexico to address the situation. She did not offer more details due to privacy concerns.
“These sorts of attacks are unacceptable. Our thoughts are with the families of these individuals and we stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance. U.S. law enforcement is in touch with Mexican law enforcement,” she said.
U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar said in a statement on Monday that a Mexican citizen was also killed during the incident.
“We have no greater priority than the safety of our citizens — this is the U.S. government’s most fundamental role,” Salazar said. “U.S. law enforcement officials from numerous agencies are working with Mexican authorities at all levels of government to secure the safe return of our compatriots.”
–Updated at 6:29 p.m.
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