Two of four US citizens who were kidnapped in northern Mexico last week have been found dead while two others are alive, the Tamaulipas state governor said Tuesday.
The four were reported missing on Friday shortly after crossing the border from Texas into Matamoros, where the white minivan they were traveling in came under fire from unidentified gunmen, the FBI said in a statement.
In a video posted to social media purportedly showing the aftermath of the shooting, armed men could be seen lifting the victims – some of whom appeared lifeless – into the back of a pick-up truck.
Tamaulipas governor Américo Villarreal told Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador in a telephone conversation broadcast live at a press conference on Tuesday that prosecutors had confirmed the death of two of the missing people and that a third had injuries, adding that emergency services had been sent to the scene.
The secretary of state for security Rosa Icela Rodríguez said at the news conference that there had been one arrest linked to the case so far.
Irving Barrios, Tamaulipas attorney general, said on Twitter that an investigation was underway to find those responsible for the kidnap and killing.
The president expressed his condolences to the victims and to the US.
The four US citizens were a group of friends who had traveled over the border so that one could undergo a surgery in Mexico, where health services are far cheaper than in the US, CNN reported earlier.
They were identified by family members as Latavia ‘Tay’ Washington McGee, a mother of six who was to undergo the medical procedure, along with her friends Shaheed Woodward, Zindell Brown and Eric, the US news channel reported.
The FBI sent out an appeal offering $50,000 for information leading to their return or the arrest of the perpetrators.
The northeastern state of Tamaulipas, which sits on the Gulf of Mexico and borders the US state of Texas, has a high rate of violence and cartel activity.