Survivor of deadly Mexican kidnapping being treated in Texas hospital

CIUDAD, VICTORIA, MEXICO (AP) — Four Americans caught in drug cartel shootout leave two dead and two for plastic surgery after being held for days in a remote Gulf Coast town ‘s expedition to Mexico has gone way off course. The two were rescued from a wooden hut, officials said Tuesday.

Their minivan crashed and was shot A stray bullet also killed a Mexican woman about a block and a half away, shortly after they crossed into the border city of Matamoros as drug cartel factions tore up the streets on Friday. .

four americans Mexican authorities searched frantically while the cartel moved them and took them to medical clinics “to avoid causing chaos and efforts to rescue them,” said Tamaulipas governor Americo Villarreal.

They were found on Tuesday in a wooden hut guarded by the arrested man in a rural area called Ejid Tecorote, east of Matamoros, on their way to a bay called “Baghdad Beach.” According to the state’s chief prosecutor, Irving Barrios.

The surviving Americans were returned to the mainland on Tuesday in Brownsville, Texas’s southernmost point, just across the border from Matamoros. The ambulance and his convoy of SUVs were escorted by machine gun-loaded Mexican Army Humvees and National Guard trucks.

A relative of one of the victims said on Monday that the four had traveled together from Carolina so one of them was able to undergo abdominal surgery by doctors in Matamoros.

The governor said the injured American, Eric Williams, was shot in the left leg and was not life-threatening.

Robert Williams, 38, Eric’s brother, who reached out by phone Tuesday in North Carolina, said he was “very relieved”. I look forward to

Robert Williams was unsure if another survivor, LaTavia Burgess, was seeking surgery.

According to the Brownsville Herald, the survivors were taken to the Valley Regional Medical Center with an FBI escort.A hospital spokesperson referred all inquiries to the FBI.

The two dead, Shayde Woodard, 33, and Gindel Brown, in his mid-20s, will be turned over to U.S. authorities after a forensic investigation at the Matamoros morgue, the governor said.

Video and photos taken during and shortly after Friday’s abduction show the American’s white minivan sitting next to another vehicle with at least one bullet hole in the driver’s side window. Witnesses said two cars collided. Almost immediately, several men with tactical vests and assault rifles arrived in another vehicle and surrounded the scene.

The Mexican authorities’ hypothesis was that “it was a disturbance and not a direct attack,” the state prosecutor said.

The gunman pushed one of the Americans into the bed of the white pickup and dragged the other three on board. A frightened civilian driver sat quietly in his car, trying not to attract attention. Two of the victims appeared motionless.

The shootings illustrate the terrorism that has been prevalent in Matamoros over the years.Amidst the violence, thousands of Mexicans have gone missing in Tamaulipas alone.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador said those responsible will be punished. He referred to arrests during the 2019 murder of nine dual U.S.-Mexican citizens in Sonora, near the U.S. border.

Lopez Obrador has complained about American media reports about the missing Americans, denouncing them as sensationalism. He said the media “quiet like mummies” when Mexicans are killed.

“I really regret that this happened in our country.”

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland has flatly denied responsibility for drug cartels

“The DEA and FBI are doing everything possible to dismantle, disrupt, and ultimately prosecute the cartel leaders and the entire networks they rely on,” Garland said.

The FBI was offering a $50,000 reward for the victim’s return and the kidnapper’s arrest.

Robert Williams said in a phone interview that he and his brother Eric are from South Carolina and now live in the Winston-Salem area of ​​North Carolina.

Williams described his brother as “easy-going” and “fun”.

He didn’t know his brother was traveling to Mexico until the kidnapping hit the news. However, seeing his Facebook post of his brother, he believes that he didn’t think the trip was dangerous.

“He thought it would be fun,” Williams said.

When his brother was told Tuesday that he was among the survivors, Williams said when they met, “How happy I am to have met him, that he survived, and that I love him.” I will tell him how happy I am.”


Laura reported from Nashville. Her AP writers in Washington, Lindsay Whitehurst, Amar Madani, and Matthew Lee contributed to this report.

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