Shaeed Woodard and Zindell Brown, two Americans found dead in Mexico after being kidnapped at gunpoint during a terrifying shootout between rival cartel gangs, have been identified.
A US official with knowledge of the investigation confirmed the identities to CNN on Tuesday.According to relatives, Woodward and Brown travelled from South Carolina to Mexico with friends Latavia “Tay” McGee and Eric James so McGee could undergo a tummy tuck procedure.
The foursome became caught in the crosshairs of a violent cartel showdown shortly after crossing the border into the crime-ridden city of Matamoros, located in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas.
The group was forced into the back of a pickup truck in broad daylight after being shot at, according to a harrowing video of the shootout.
McGee and James were rushed to Brownsville, Texas, in a convoy of ambulances and SUVs escorted by Mexican military Humvees and National Guard trucks equipped with.50-caliber machine guns.
Police said one of the two survivors was seriously injured, but they did not say which one.
McGee’s mother stated that her daughter was scheduled to have surgery on the day of the kidnapping.
The foursome was “placed in a vehicle and taken from the scene by armed men” after being abducted, according to the FBI.
On Tuesday, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced the arrest of one person.
According to CNN, local authorities will examine the bodies of Woodard and Brown before they are repatriated to the United States.
The motive for the kidnapping is unknown, but according to CNN, investigators believe the four Americans were mistaken for Haitian drug smugglers.
According to US State Department spokesperson Ned Price, the Biden administration wants “accountability for the violence inflicted on these Americans, which tragically resulted in the death of two of them.”