February 21. 2024. 7:30

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Mexico kidnapping: Two Americans found dead, two others returned to US

Two of four Americans kidnapped by gunmen on Friday after they drove into northeastern Mexico have been found dead, and the two survivors have returned to the United States, US and Mexican officials said on Tuesday.

Americo Villarreal – governor of Tamaulipas, the border state that the four entered from Texas – told a news conference two of the US citizens and a Mexican woman had died during the kidnapping ordeal.

The survivors and the two bodies were discovered by Mexican security forces on Tuesday morning in a wood cabin southeast of the border city of Matamoros, said Americo Villarreal, governor of Tamaulipas, the state the four crossed into from Texas.

One Mexican official said the most likely explanation for the group’s abduction was a case of mistaken identity.

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One of the two surviving Americans suffered a gunshot wound to his leg that was not life-threatening, while the other, a woman, was not injured, Mr Villarreal told a news conference.

A Mexican woman (33) also died during the kidnapping ordeal, apparently from a stray bullet, he said.

A man (24) guarding those abducted at the cabin was arrested at the scene.

Before they were found, the four had been moved to a succession of locations in the area, including a local clinic in a bid to throw police off the trail, Mr Villarreal said.

The four Americans were in a white minivan when they entered Matamoros on Friday. Gunmen fired at them soon afterwards and then forced them into another vehicle, officials said.

A relative of one of the victims said the four had travelled together from the Carolinas so one of them could get tummy-tuck surgery in Matamoros.

A video circulating on social media purportedly of the kidnapping showed a woman being walked towards a white pickup truck by a group of men with body armour and guns. She was forced into the back before the men dragged in two prone figures.

Tamaulipas is one of Mexico’s most gang-ravaged states and has long been plagued by the kidnapping of migrants.

ABC News on Monday named the four Americans as Shaeed Woodard, Zindell Brown, Latavia McGee and Eric James Williams. A Tamaulipas official identified the last two as the survivors. – Reuters