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Hunt for kidnappers in Mexico comes to a tragic end

A source tells Scripps News authorities received the location of the victims Tuesday just before dawn.
Posted at 8:15 PM, Mar 07, 2023

The hunt for four Americans kidnapped by an armed group in Matamoros, Mexico comes to an agonizing end. 

The news was delivered to Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the President of Mexico, in the middle of a live press conference: "there are two dead, one person injured and the other alive."

A source tells Scripps News authorities received the location of the victims Tuesday just before dawn. The U.S. citizens kidnapped were found in a woodshack in a rural area east of Matamoros near the Gulf Coast. 

"Two U.S. citizens were returned to the United States. The bodies of two other U.S. citizens killed in the same incident were also recovered," said Ned Price, the State Department spokesperson. 

The Americans abducted have been identified by family members and friends as Latavia McGee, a 33-year-old mother of six; Zindell Brown, Shaeed Woodard and Eric Williams.

CNN was among the first to report the victims' names. Officals say McGee and Williams are being treated at a Texas hospital. 

They were brought back to the U.S. in a convoy of ambulances and SUVs with Mexican military guard and armed with machine guns. 

A Red Cross worker closes the door of an ambulance carrying two Americans found alive after their abduction in Mexico

Analyzing where and how Tamaulipas kidnappings took place

Footage of kidnapped Americans in Mexico carry clues that show exactly where and how it happened.


Brown and Woodward’s bodies were being processed by a Matamoros morgue.  

"During this difficult time, I want to offer my deepest sympathies to the families of the victims that were attacked and kidnapped," said Attorney General, Merrick Garland. 

The sister of Brown says she was close to her brother.  

She says he traveled to Mexico to support McGee who was getting tummy tuck surgery.   

The FBI says last Friday, the four Americans traveled to the border town of Matamoros, just south of Brownsville, Texas.  

They were driving a white minivan with North Carolina plates. The FBI says shortly after crossing into Mexico an unidentified gunman fired at the minivan and placed the Americans in a vehicle and armed gunman removed them  from the scene. Officials say a Mexican citizen was killed in the crossfire.  

Graphic video believed to be tied to the kidnappings circulated online.

Scripps News geolocated the video and the coordinates correlate to the location of the kidnapping.

We want to warn you — the video is graphic.   

The video shows three men, two with bulletproof vests, drag and force three people — including one person that appeared motionless in the middle of the street — into the back of a pickup truck. 

Mexico’s president says one suspect is in custody and those who are responsible will be punished. 

"Ultimately we want to see accountability for the violence that has been inflicted on these Americans that tragically led to the death of two of them," Price said.