MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW/AP) — Two of the four Americans who were kidnapped in Mexico last week have been found dead, while one was wounded and another was uninjured, according to the Associated Press, citing Mexican officials.
One of the four Americans kidnapped is from Myrtle Beach and has family members living in the Pee Dee, according to the AP. Officials have not identified the two who were found dead.
Zindell Brown was identified as one of the four victims of the kidnapping by his sister, Zalandria Brown, who lives in Florence, the AP said.
Tamaulipas Gov. Américo Villarreal said Tuesday that one of the surviving U.S. citizens was wounded and the other was not.
Villarreal confirmed the deaths by phone during a morning news conference by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, saying details about the four abducted Americans had been confirmed by prosecutors.
López Obrador said one suspect was in custody.
“Of the four, two of them are dead, one person is wounded and the other is alive and right now the ambulances and the rest of the security personnel are going for them for give the corresponding support,” Villarreal said
The governor did not share any additional details about where or how they were found. He was expected to share more information at his own daily news conference scheduled for later Tuesday morning.
The U.S. citizens were found in a rural area east of Matamoros called Ejido Longoreño on the way to the local beach known as Playa Baghdad, according to a state authority who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the case. Word of their location came to authorities before dawn Tuesday.
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Mexican officials said a Mexican woman also had died in Fridays’ crossfire.
Authorities have said Zindell Brown was with Latavia “Tay” McGee, Shaeed Woodard and Eric James Williams when they were kidnapped in an area of the country dominated by factions of the powerful Gulf drug cartel.
Zalandria Brown told the AP that Zindell and two friends were with a third friend who was going to Mexico for a “tummy tuck” cosmetic surgery. She said that she had been in contact with the FBI and local officials after learning that her younger brother was one of the four victims.
“This is like a bad dream you wish you could wake up from,” she said in a phone interview with the AP. “To see a member of your family thrown in the back of a truck and dragged, it is just unbelievable.”
Brown said the group made the trip together so they could split the driving duties. They were aware of the dangers in Mexico, she said, and her brother had expressed some misgivings.
“Zindell kept saying, ‘We shouldn’t go down,’” Brown said.
The FBI had reported Sunday that it was searching with Mexican authorities for the missing Americans.
The four got caught in a deadly shootout and were kidnapped by heavily armed men who threw them in the back of a pickup truck, officials from both countries said on Monday.
They were in a white minivan with North Carolina license plates when they came under fire shortly after entering the city of Matamoros from Brownsville, at the southernmost tip of Texas near the Gulf coast, the FBI said in a statement on Sunday.
The FBI is officering a $50,000 reward for their safe return and the arrest of the kidnappers.
A video posted to social media Friday showed men with assault rifles and tan body armor loading the four people into the bed of a white pickup in broad daylight. One was alive and sitting up, but the others seemed either dead or wounded. At least one person appeared to lift his head from the pavement before being dragged to the truck.
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. It was not immediately clear how the abductions may have been connected to that violence.
U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar said in a statement Monday the Americans were kidnapped at gunpoint and an “innocent” Mexican citizen died in the attack. He said various U.S. justice agencies were working with their Mexican counterparts to recover the missing persons.
Authorities have provided no other details about the victims.
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.
This is a developing story. Refresh for updates.
Information from the Associated Press was included in this story.