(CTN News) – According to Mexican and US officials, two of the four Americans kidnapped at gunpoint in Mexico last week are dead and two are alive and have returned to the United States.
Armed men abducted four US citizens driving into Matamoros in Tamaulipas, Mexico, across the border from Texas, on 3 March.
According to relatives, they traveled there for cosmetic surgery.
A 24-year-old man named José N” has been arrested in Tamaulipas.
According to John Kirby, a White House spokesman, “We extend our deepest condolences to those affected by these attacks.”
In a tweet, Tamaulipas Attorney General Irving Barrios Mojica said the two surviving victims were taken to the US on Tuesday.
An armed convoy from the Mexican military escorted them back.
Two Americans were found dead, and the other two were taken to American hospitals for treatment, according to the FBI.
Among the surviving victims, one was seriously injured, according to the FBI.
In collaboration with international partners, the agency vowed to hold those responsible for the attack accountable.
Shaeed Woodard and Zindell Brown’s bodies have been recovered and are being repatriated to the US.
” Our deepest sympathies go out to the families and friends of the victims, as well as the government of the United States. We will work to ensure peace and tranquility in our country.”
According to families, the injured Americans are Latavia “Tay” McGee and Eric James Williams, both from South Carolina.
A white minivan, with North Carolina plates, was being driven through Matamoros – a 500,000-person city across the border from Brownsville, Texas – when unidentified gunmen opened fire, according to the FBI.
A video shows heavily armed men loading them into a pickup truck. Some are manhandled on to the vehicle, while others appear unconscious and are dragged.
This incident last Friday killed a Mexican woman, believed to be a 33-year-old bystander.
Mexican officials confirmed on Tuesday that a 24-year-old man had been arrested and that the four Americans had been found in a wooden shack outside Matamoros.
The victims were relocated between their kidnapping on Friday and their discovery on Tuesday “in order to create confusion”, officials said.
A US law enforcement source told CBS that investigators believe the Gulf Cartel, one of Mexico’s oldest organised crime groups, is behind the attack.
The exact cause of the Americans’ deaths is unclear. They may have been ambushed, mistaken for drug traffickers, or caught in a crossfire between warring factions.
The investigation is still in its early stages, the US state department said on Tuesday.
Apparently, McGee traveled to the Mexican border town for a tummy tuck, a cosmetic procedure that removes abdominal fat.
She had asked her mother Barbara Burgess not to send her daughter, but she was assured she would be safe by her daughter.
For the return of the Americans, the FBI offered a $50,000 reward (£42,000).
As a result of crime and kidnapping, the US state department advises travelers not to travel to Tamaulipas, which is in the state of Tamaulipas.
The US border states are particularly prone to medical tourism.
As a result of drug cartel control in Tamaulipas, Matamoros is among the most dangerous cities in the country.