Two Americans who were caught in a cartel shootout and then abducted have been found dead, officials said Tuesday.
Two others kidnapped with them were found alive, with one wounded.
Tamaulipas Gov. Américo Villarreal did not provide details on the extent of the wounded person’s injuries.
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As seen by an Associated Press journalist Tuesday morning, the surviving Americans were taken to the border near Brownsville, Texas, in a convoy of Mexican ambulances and SUVs.
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 trucks with mounted .50-caliber machine guns.
The FBI had said Sunday it was searching with Mexican authorities for the missing U.S. citizens.
A relative of one of them said Monday that the group had traveled together from South Carolina so one could get a tummy tuck from a doctor in the border city of Matamoros, where Friday’s kidnapping took place.
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Shortly after entering Mexico, they were caught amid fighting between rival cartel groups. A video showed gunmen loading them into the back of a pickup truck.
Officials said a Mexican woman also died in Friday’s crossfire.
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 prosecutors had confirmed details about the four abducted Americans.
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.
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Mexico’s president complained about the U.S. media’s coverage of the missing Americans, accusing them of sensationalism, according to the AP.
“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.”
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