The two Americans who survived a deadly kidnapping in Mexico, where two others were murdered, have returned to the United States with a harrowing story.
Barbara McLeod Burgess told CNN that her daughter LaTavia Washington McGee, who was planning to return home to South Carolina on Wednesday, said she and her fellow travelers were looking for a medical clinic where McGee was scheduled to have cosmetic surgery, when her minivan was struck by another vehicle. They tried to run when the gunmen opened fire.
“They were all shot at the same time,” he said. “And (McGee) watched them die,” Burgess said.
The foursome’s van was ambushed Friday morning south of the Texas border in Matamoros. Video obtained by CNN appears to show gunmen loading four people into a white van last week. Two of the figures were motionless. US officials believe that McGee and his fellow travelers may have been wrong for Haitian drug traffickers.
Mexican authorities identified the gunmen’s pickup truck, according to CNN, which said the four victims were discovered in a house on the outskirts of Matamoros, near the Gulf of Mexico, on Tuesday. They had moved to various places. A man was reportedly guarding the house.
Eric Williams, who was shot three times in the attack that killed Shaeed Woodard and Zindell Brown, was reportedly treated for leg injuries at a Texas hospital. The bodies of Williams and Woodard, which were autopsied Wednesday, are also heading home.
The United States Department of State warn americans “Gun battles, murder, armed robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, enforced disappearance, extortion and sexual assault” are common in the gang-ridden area where the four Americans were attacked.
“Members of heavily armed criminal groups often patrol areas of the state and operate with impunity, particularly along the border region from Reynosa to Nuevo Laredo,” according to a travel advisory issued in October.
Friends of the foursome reportedly said the clinic where McGee scheduled her appointment reached out to say she never showed up after calling for directions. They were also unable to contact the victims.