March 7 (UPI) — Mexican authorities say they have discovered the bodies of two Americans who were kidnapped Friday in the city of Matamoros and recovered two hostages alive.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said the Americans got caught up in a dispute between armed groups and were not believed to be targeted. During a press conference Tuesday, Obrador played a phone call with Tamaulipas Gov. Americo Villarreal Anaya, who said emergency services were caring for the survivors.
The four Americans were discovered at a location believed to be a medical clinic in the city of Matamoros, across the border from Brownsville, Texas, and that one of the survivors is injured, a U.S. official told CNN.
“Derived from the joint search actions, the four American citizens deprived of their liberty last Friday were found,” Tamaulipas Attorney General Irving Barrios wrote on Twitter. “Unfortunately, two dead. Investigation and intelligence work continue to capture those responsible. Details will be given later.”
U.S. Secretary General Merrick Garland confirmed that two Americans had died and one other was injured in the Friday attack.
The two surviving Americans have returned to the United States where they are receiving medical treatment, he said in a statement, vowing those responsible would be held to account.
“The Justice Department will be relentless in pursuing justice on their behalf,” he said. “We will do everything in our power to identify, find and hold accountable the individuals responsible for this attack on American citizens.”
A 24-year-old man inside the house where the victims were found has been arrested.
The U.S. Embassy in Mexico said gunmen shot into a vehicle containing the four Americans and subsequently “herded them into another vehicle and fled the scene with them.”
U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar said a Mexican bystander was also killed.
The four Americans were identified as Latavia McGee and Eric James Williams, who survived and have returned to the United States, according to their family; and Shaeed Woodward and Zindell Brown, who died.
McGee’s mother, Barbara Burgess, told ABC News her daughter had traveled to Mexico from South Carolina for a cosmetic surgery procedure.
The FBI on Monday had announced a $50,000 reward for the return of the four Americans.