Four Americans who were kidnapped last week in Mexico have been found on Tuesday, but two of them had already died.
According to the Governor of the border State of Tamaulipas, where the abduction occurred last week, two of the four Americans were found dead, while the other two were found alive.
The President Andrés Manuel López Obrador also confirmed the report.
One of those found alive was injured, Tamaulipas Gov. Américo Villarreal said on Tuesday.
At least one of the Americans died at the scene of the attack on Friday, in which gunmen shot at their car, according to a senior Mexican official who was not authorized to speak publicly.
Of the four kidnapping victims: “two of them are dead, one person is injured and the other is alive,” said the Governor of Tamaulipas, Américo Villarreal, speaking live by phone at the Mexican president’s daily news conference on Tuesday.
“Ambulances and the rest of the security personnel are on their way right now to offer support,” Mr. Villarreal said.
The two survivors are now in a safe location and being offered medical attention, according to the senior Mexican official.
U.S. and Mexican authorities have been searching for the four Americans since they were kidnapped in Mexico on Friday after they crossed into the country from Texas for medical help, according to officials in both countries.
The four Americans were identified as Zindell Brown, Eric James Williams and cousins Latavia “Tay” McGee and Shaeed Woodard.
They drove into the border town of Matamoros, Mexico, from Brownsville, Texas, in a white minivan with North Carolina license plates when gunmen began firing on their vehicle, the F.B.I. said. The gunmen then put the Americans in another vehicle and drove them away.
During the episode, “an innocent Mexican citizen” was killed, according to Ken Salazar, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico.
He said on Monday that multiple U.S. law enforcement agencies were working with the Mexican authorities to find and rescue the missing Americans.
One of the Americans kidnapped had a medical appointment in Matamoros the morning of the kidnapping, according to a U.S. official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an open investigation.
While it is common for Americans to get entangled in violence in northern Mexico, a shared border nearly 2,000 miles long with large swaths dominated by drug cartels and criminal organizations, it is not very common for U.S. nationals to be kidnapped in Mexico.
Two people who said they were relatives of the kidnapped Americans told The Associated Press and CNN that the group was going to Mexico for tummy-tuck surgery for one member of the group.
McGee’s mother, Barbara Burgess, told ABC News that her daughter traveled from South Carolina to Mexico for a cosmetic medical procedure.
On Friday, the day of the appointment, Burgess said McGee called to say she was 15 minutes away from the doctor’s office. Burgess called McGee later that day but never heard back, she said.
The Americans were taken after getting caught in the middle of a confrontation between groups, according to Mexico’s president, who told reporters Monday that they “crossed the border to buy medicines in Mexico.”
A video that appears to show the kidnapping that has circulated widely on social media showed three men dragging people on the ground and then lifting and dropping them in the bed of a white pickup truck.
At least one of the men wore an armored vest, and they were dragging the people in clear view of nearby traffic.
The U.S.-Mexico border is one of the busiest in the world, with young Mexicans crossing north to shop or attend private high schools, and American nationals going south to buy cheap medication or undergo medical procedures that are unaffordable at home, from dentist appointments to cosmetic surgery.
While Americans can be victims of the violence that plagues much of the border, it is often because they are at the wrong place at the wrong time, traversing a frontier rife with criminal activity and drug cartels that actively push drugs, migrants and even endangered wildlife into the United States for a profit, sometimes with the help of corrupt Mexican authorities.
But the seemingly targeted nature of the kidnapping last week — with a car ramming into the vehicle the American nationals were traveling in — has led to questions about whether or not the victims were mistaken for someone else.
Cartels often avoid targeting American nationals, fearful of the blowback it will cause by the U.S. law enforcement.
The kidnapping on Friday has left officials in Washington wondering if the American nationals were unintentionally caught up in criminal violence or purposefully targeted.
Just a few days before the four Americans were kidnapped, an American citizen was killed by the Mexican military in the same state, Tamaulipas, as he was driving back from a nightclub with his friends on 26 February.