Mexico kidnapping map: Where were four US citizens abducted at gunpoint in Matamoros?

Four Americans drove across the US border with Mexico on 3 March in their white minivan, where they were ambushed by armed men

Rachel Sharp
Wednesday 08 March 2023 15:42 GMT
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Two Americans were killed and two others were dramatically rescued after they were kidnapped at gunpoint in Mexico.

The harrowing ordeal began when the group of four friends - LaTavia “Tay” McGee, Shaeed Woodard, Zindell Brown and Eric James Williams - set out from South Carolina and drove across the US border into Mexico on 3 March so that Ms McGee could undergo a tummy tuck procedure.

Not long after entering Matamoros – a border city dominated by the Gulf cartel – they came under fire from a group of armed men and were bundled into the back of a pickup truck.

On Tuesday, Mexican authorities announced that two of the victims, Woodard and Brown, had been found dead. Ms McGee and Mr Williams were rescued and returned to the US, the latter suffering multiple gunshot wounds.

The map below shows where the kidnapping took place:

(The Independent/Datawrapper)

At least one person - identified as 24-year-old Jose “N” – has been arrested, according to Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Officials believe the attack was the work of a drug cartel who mistook the victims for Haitian drug smugglers.

The incident sparked a huge international effort to track down the medical tourists, with the FBI offering a $50,000 reward for their return and for the arrest of those responsible.

Ms McGee’s family revealed she had gone to Mexico for a tummy tuck procedure, with the friends she’d known since childhood accompanying her.

The US State Department has long advised Americans not to travel to Tamaulipas due to the risk of crime and kidnapping. The region is on the “Level 4: Do Not Travel” list.

The border city of Matamoros, in the state of Tamaulipas, is largely controlled by the Gulf drug cartel, with violence and migrant smuggling rife.

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