The four Americans were located at what appears to be a medical clinic in the border city of Matamoros.
One of the two survivors is severely injured, a U.S. official familiar with the ongoing investigation told CNN.
Zindell Brown, Eric James Williams, and cousins Latavia “Tay” McGee, 33, and Shaeed Woodard crossed into Matamoros, in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas just south of Brownsville, Texas, in a white minivan on Friday (March 3).
According to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, “Shortly after crossing into Mexico, unidentified gunmen shot the passengers of the vehicle. The gunmen herded the four U.S. citizens into another vehicle and fled the scene with them.”
On Monday, Mexico’s president told reporters the Americans were taken after getting caught in the middle of a confrontation between groups.
Video of the armed kidnappers forcefully pushing Tay onto the back of a pickup truck has been circulating online.
The video also shows the kidnappers throwing the bodies of the men onto the back of the pickup beside Tay.
Tay’s mother, Barbara Burgess, told ABC News that her daughter traveled from South Carolina to Mexico to get a cosmetic procedure done – an abdominoplasty — commonly known as a “tummy tuck.”
Barbara said she warned her daughter, who is a mother of six, about going to Mexico for the procedure, but Tay assured her that she would be okay.
On Friday, the day of the appointment, Barbara spoke to Tay, who said she was five minutes away from the doctor’s office.
Latavia “Tay” McGee’s friend told CNN, “Her other cousin, who previously went with her to Matamoros for the first procedure, made a post asking if anyone’s heard from her.”
The cousin became extremely concerned when the doctor’s office called because Tay missed the appointment.
Zalandria Brown of Florence, South Carolina, said she has been in contact with the FBI and local officials after learning her younger brother, Zindell Brown, was one of the four victims of the kidnapping.
“This is like a bad dream you wish you could wake up from,” she said. “To see a member of your family thrown in the back of a truck and dragged, it is just unbelievable.”
According to Zalandria, Zindell and two friends accompanied Tay as she traveled to Mexico off her tummy tuck, but Zindell was apprehensive about going because of the dangers.
Shootouts in Matamoros were so bad on Friday that the U.S. Consulate issued an alert about the danger and local authorities warned people to shelter in place.
Investigators believe the Americans were targeted by a Mexican cartel that likely mistook them for Haitian drug smugglers, a US official familiar with the ongoing investigation tells CNN.
President Joe Biden had been informed of the situation, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday. She declined to answer other questions, citing privacy concerns.
Watch the official news report below.
This story is developing and I will provide updates as soon as they become available.
My prayers, thoughts, and deepest condolences go out to the victims and families of this senseless kidnapping and violence.
UPDATE (Via CNN):
The two surviving American citizens kidnapped in Mexico are now in the care of the FBI and have returned to the United States, an official familiar with the investigation tells CNN.
The two will receive medical treatment and observations at a hospital in Texas, the source added.
The bodies of the two people who were killed will be examined by Mexican authorities before the remains are turned over to the US government, a source said.
UPDATE #2 (Via CNN):
The two Americans who authorities say were kidnapped in Mexico and found dead have been identified as Shaeed Woodard and Zindell Brown, a U.S. official familiar with the ongoing investigation tells CNN.