Four kidnapped Americans in Matamoros, Mexico found


WCNC Charlotte

Friday March 3, a Mexican cartel kidnapped four Americans in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico. With one member in the group traveling for cosmetic surgery, her three friends accompanied her from South Carolina. Two of the group survived, but a gang killed the other two members.

Giovanna Talone, Sports Editor

Four individuals from South Carolina traveled to Matamoros, Tamaulipas in Mexico when a cartel kidnapped the group. Latavia McGee traveled to one of Tamaulipas’s deadliest cities, accompanied by three friends: Shaeed Woodard, Eric Williams, and Zindell Brown. The group planned the trip to split the drive between each other.

Upon crossing the border, the quad became caught in a crossfire between two armed groups. The gang escorted one victim into the back of the truck, while gunmen dragged the other three into the truck bed. Video footage shows only one out of the three appeared conscious. Officials received news that Williams and McGee survived, but Woodard and Brown died. Mexican officials also reported one citizen died from the crossfire. 

“I heard about this on the news from the first day they were kidnapped. I’m thankful that the survivors are doing better and are back with their families. I hope justice is served to the victims and they find the people who did this,” sophomore Jason Turner said.

With the investigation ongoing, officials did not release the exact location of the surviving victims. Michele Williams, Williams’s wife, told reporters her husband survived three gunshots to his leg and police transported him to a hospital in Texas. McGee sustained no injuries. Mexican government officials will return Woodard and Zindell’s bodies to the US after the examination.

US officials warn Americans about the dangers of Tamaulipa and do not encourage Americans to travel there. The town exists as a bordering city near Texas and families often travel across the border, despite the high risks of gang violence. 

With a fresh investigation, news outlets will release updated information regarding the murders and kidnappings. The Mexican government detained Jose “N”,  a 24-year-old Mexican citizen because of his connection to the incident.

The man held responsible for the kidnappings turned in five of his gang members to authorities. The gang allegedly issued an apology letter to the victims and their families, but government officials remain uncertain about the group’s sincerity. Officials believe the gang mistook the four Americans as associates of a different gang.

“I am going to Mexico this summer and stuff like this worries me. This devastating incident happened to a friend group just traveling to Mexico and nobody could have expected it to turn out like this. I feel sorry for the families and feel bad that they can never see the ones that passed again,” sophomore Lauren Tarchak said.