SANTA MONICA, Calif. – Four Americans travelled to Mexico because one of the travelers couldn’t afford the cost of care in the United States. Three of the travelers went to support the one who went to buy prescription drugs and undergo a “tummy tuck” surgery in Mexico.
The four travelled to Mexico from South Carolina because the cost of the surgery was more affordable in Mexico than in their home country – the United States.
Earlier today, Tamaulipas Governor, Americo Villarreal announced that two bodies of the kidnapped Americans had been found. The other two Americans had also been found – one was injured and is in critical condition, and the extent of the other’s injuries are unknown.
The surviving Americans were taken to the border near Brownsville, Texas, in a convoy of Mexican ambulances and SUVs, as seen by an Associated Press journalist Tuesday morning. It was not immediately clear if the bodies of the deceased were also being returned to the U.S.
The vehicles sped down a long dirt road escorted by Mexican military Humvees, armored vehicles, state police and National Guard in trucks with mounted .50-caliber machine guns.
The U.S. citizens were found in a rural area east of Matamoros called Ejido Longoreño on the way to an area on the Gulf coast known as “Bagdad Beach,”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.
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.
“Those responsible will be found and they are going to be punished,” he said, referencing arrests made in the 2019 killings of nine U.S.-Mexican dual citizens in Sonora near the U.S. border.
Mexico’s president complained about the U.S. media’s coverage of the missing Americans, accusing them of sensationalism. “It’s not like that when they kill Mexicans in the United States, they go quiet like mummies.”
“It’s very unfortunate, they (the U.S. government) has the right to protest like they have,” he said. “We really regret that this happens in our country.”
The abduction illustrates the terror that has prevailed for years in Matamoros, a city dominated by factions of the powerful Gulf drug cartel who often fight among themselves. Amid the violence, thousands of Mexicans have disappeared in Tamaulipas state alone.