MEXICO CITY — Two of four Americans abducted in Mexico last week when their van was caught in a shootout were found dead, a top Mexican official said Tuesday. The two others have been found alive, with one wounded. And one suspect is in custody, the country’s president said.
Tamaulipas Gov. Américo Villarreal did not provide details on the extent of the wounded person’s injuries, saying, “right now the ambulances and the rest of the security personnel are going to give the corresponding support.” The governor offered no additional information about where or how the U.S. citizens were found.
The FBI reported Sunday that it was searching with Mexican authorities for the missing Americans, who were kidnapped Friday. A relative of one of them said Monday that they had traveled together from South Carolina so one of them could get a tummy tuck from a doctor in the border city of Matamoros, across from Brownsville, Texas.
Shortly after entering Mexico, they were caught amid fighting between rival cartel groups in the city. A video showed them being loaded into the back of a pickup truck by gunmen. Officials said a Mexican woman also died in Friday’s crossfire.
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.
López Obrador said one suspect was in custody.
Mexico’s president complained about the U.S. media’s coverage of the missing Americans, accusing them of sensationalizing things. “It’s not like that when they kill Mexicans in the United States, they go quiet like mummies.”
“It’s very unfortunate, they (the U.S. government) has the right to protest like they have,” he said. “We really regret that this happens in our country.”
The abduction illustrates the terror that has prevailed for years in Matamoros, a city dominated by factions of the powerful Gulf drug cartel who often fight among themselves. Amid the violence, thousands of Mexicans have disappeared in Tamaulipas state alone.
The FBI had offered a $50,000 reward for the victims’ return and the arrest of the kidnappers.
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