Four Black Americans who were kidnapped in Mexico City have been identified by the Feds Friday. Videos of them being dragged and thrown into the back of a truck sparked an investigation and $50,000 reward from the FBI. According to officials from both countries, two of the victims were found alive and the other two were found dead.
LaTavia “Tay” McGee had taken a trip to get a tummy tuck procedure with her cousin Shaeed Woodard and friends Zindell Brown and Eric James Williams. McGee’s mother told ABC News she warned her daughter not to go and alas, her motherly instinct that something terrible could happen was proven correct. On the day of the appointment, McGee called her mother 15 minutes ahead of arriving at her appointment. She and the three men were driving in a white rental minivan when they were rushed by a group of gunmen who shot at their vehicle. Woodard and Brown were killed but all four were taken into another vehicle.
Just like that, a simple vacation turned into a nightmare from hell.
Mexican state official Gov. Américo Villarreal said the group was transported to a series of locations upon being kidnapped to confuse and interrupt the rescue process. Eventually, they were found in a wooden shack, guarded by a 24-year-old captor who was arrested. The two survivors were transported over the border through Texas and escorted by the Mexican military and National Guard. The two deceased will be returned to the families following a forensics exam by the morgue in Matamoros, Mexico.
Read more from The Associated Press:
The U.S. citizens were found in a rural area east of Matamoros called Ejido Tecolote on the way to the Gulf coast known as “Bagdad Beach,” according to Tamaulipas state chief prosecutor Irving Barrios.
Shortly after entering Mexico Friday, the four were caught amid fighting between rival cartel groups in the city. Barrios said the hypothesis is “that it was confusion, not a direct attack.”
The shootings illustrate 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.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the people responsible would be punished. He referenced arrests made in the 2019 killings of nine U.S.-Mexican dual citizens in Sonora near the U.S. border.
As the investigation progresses, we’re given a harsh reminder of the dangers of traveling outside of the country. On that note, President Obrador claims American media coverage has sensationalized the killing and kidnapping by making Mexico out to be an aggressor, ruthlessly slaying American tourists.
“It’s not like that when they kill Mexicans in the United States, they (the media) go quiet like mummies,” he said. He’s got a point. Black lives are also just as much in danger within the country they were born as they are across the border.