Two of the four U.S. citizens who were kidnapped at gunpoint in Mexico last week after crossing the border from Texas are dead, the governor of Mexico's Tamaulipas state said.
Gov. Américo Villarreal said on a phone call during a news conference on March 7 that two people died, one was wounded and the other was unharmed. The attorney general of Tamaulipas also confirmed on March 7 that two of the U.S. citizens were found dead.
Neither official said where the victims, who were kidnapped on March 3, were recovered. They also did not give any details on the conditions of the survivors. The names of those who died have not been released.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said on March 7 that more details would be forthcoming.
“We are very sorry that this happened in our country and we send our condolences to the families of the victims, friends, and the United States government, and we will continue doing our work to guarantee peace and tranquility,” Obrador said.
The FBI was offering $50,000 for any information leading to the return of the four Americans, whose whereabouts were unknown until the announcement by Mexican officials.
Authorities believe they were caught in the crossfire of a gunfight in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, on March 3 in a case of mistaken identity.
The four people were in a minivan with North Carolina license plates and crossed over the border from Brownsville, Texas, to Matamoros when they were abducted, FBI officials said.
A frightening video shows gunmen dragging people out of the vehicle and then into the back of a white pickup truck in broad daylight.
One of kidnapped victims was identified to NBC News as LaTavia Washington McGee by her cousin and family spokesperson, Aliyah McLeod.
She said a group that included McGee traveled from South Carolina in a rented vehicle with North Carolina plates to Mexico so that one of the members of the group could undergo a "medical procedure."
A law enforcement official with knowledge of the matter also told NBC News that a woman in the group had been looking to undergo a cosmetic procedure.
Zalandria Brown told The Associated Press that her younger brother, South Carolina resident Zindell Brown, is another one of those who were kidnapped. She said her brother and two friends had accompanied a third friend who was traveling to Mexico for a tummy tuck surgery.
“Zindell kept saying, ‘We shouldn’t go down,’” Brown told The Associated Press.
The Mexican state of Tamaulipas, where Matamoros is located, has been under a level 4 travel warning by the U.S. State Department since October due to crime and kidnapping.
"It's devolved over the years to the point now where there is increasing drug-related, violent criminal organizations seeking to kidnap for ransom," Figliuzzi said.
The State Department had issued a warning reminder just hours before the kidnapping took place following a pair of shootings in Tamaulipas that closed schools.