The four U.S. citizens who were kidnapped at gunpoint in Mexico on Friday (March 3) have been identified by family members.
Latavia “Tay” McGee, Shaeed Woodard, Zindell Brown, and Eric James Williams, a group of friends from South Carolina, were traveling to the Mexican border city of Matamoros for a cosmetic medical procedure when they were abducted last week, relatives told ABC News and the Associate Press.
According to the San Antonio division of the FBI, the missing Americans drove into Matamoros, a city largely controlled by the Gulf drug cartel, on Friday in a white minivan with North Carolina license plates. Unidentified gunmen opened fire against the group before they were “placed in a vehicle and taken from the scene by armed men,” the FBI said.
Unverified video circulating on social media shows armed men loading four people into the back of a white pickup truck. One of the four appears to be moving and sitting upright, while the other three appear to be limp as they are dragged into the bed of the vehicle.
Zindell Brown's sister, Zalandria Brown, said her brother, along with two others, was accompanying a fourth friend who was planning to have tummy tuck surgery in Mexico.
“This is like a bad dream you wish you could wake up from,” she said. “To see a member of your family thrown in the back of a truck and dragged, it is just unbelievable.”
Latavia “Tay” McGee's mother, Barbara Burgess, told ABC News that she warned her daughter not to go on the trip. Burgess said her daughter brushed off her concerns, saying “Ma, I’ll be okay."
An investigation into the kidnapping by the FBI, federal partners, and Mexican law enforcement agencies is ongoing. The FBI is seeking the public's help in the investigation and has announced a $50,000 reward for the return of the missing Americans and the arrest of those responsible for the abduction.
The State Department has also issued a “Level 4: Do Not Travel” advisory for US citizens thinking of traveling to the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, citing crime and kidnapping.
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