Mexico

Four Americans Kidnapped in Mexico Located, Two Dead and Two Alive

The group may have made the trip to Mexico for a cosmetic procedure

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Two of the four Americans kidnapped in Mexico have been found dead and the other two were found alive, officials said.

After a desperate search for the group, the four Americans have been located, the Governor of Tamaulipas confirmed on Tuesday.

The surviving victims were transported back across the U.S. border to Valley Regional Medical Center in Brownsville.

One of the survivors, Latavia McGee, was seen in an ambulance. Her friend Eric Williams was shot in the leg but survived.

His wife says the four victims were childhood friends on the trip from South Carolina to Mexico so one of them could undergo a cosmetic medical procedure.

"I'm very happy he's alive but I'm also heartbroken for the families who can't say the same," said Michelle Williams.

Tamaulipa's Attorney General's Office said a man guarding the kidnapping victims was arrested Tuesday.

They were found -- two dead and two alive -- inside a red wooden house in Matamoros, and for the past few days, investigators say they've been moved to several locations including a medical clinic to create confusion, according a press release from the AG's office.

"I think the Mexican government needs to demonstrate that it can, in fact, bring people to justice and hopefully that's a deterrent from this kind of activity," said Andrew Rudman, director of the Mexico Institute for the Wilson Center.

Chilling video posted to social media shows the group being forced at gunpoint by men with bulletproof vests into the back of a pick-up truck in broad daylight.

It happened shortly after the U.S. citizens crossed from Brownsville into Matamoros, Mexico on Friday.

In the video, one woman is alive and sitting up. The others appear either dead or wounded.

The FBI says the Americans entered Matamoros in a white minivan with North Carolina license plates before armed gunmen opened fire and abducted them.

Photos from the scene appear to show a white minivan with the driver’s side window shot out and multiple people lying in the street surrounded by a rifle-toting gunman.

“We are closely following the assault and kidnapping of four U.S. citizens in Matamoros, Mexico. These sorts of attacks are unacceptable,” said White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

Authorities say an innocent Mexican citizen was killed in the incident.

A law enforcement official tells NBC News the Americans did not cross the border for any criminal purpose, and that this appears to be a case of mistaken identity.

Monday, Mexico's president said the citizens entered the country to buy medicine, though a law enforcement source with knowledge of the matter tells NBC News it was for cosmetic surgery.

For years, a night out in Matamoros was part of the "two-nation vacation" for spring breakers flocking to South Padre Island.

But violence there has escalated over the past decade with the takeover of the Gulf drug cartel.

Friday's shootout prompted the U.S. Consulate to issue another security alert in addition to the State Department's "do not travel" warning for the area.

It comes at a key time for tourism as Americans head south for spring break.

Catherine Banks, owner of Legacy Travel in Plano, says resort areas like Puerto Vallarta, the Riviera Maya and Cancun remain safe for U.S. travelers.

"If you're traveling to a resort area then I would go ahead and go. There's zero reason for you not to pursue with your plans. Certainly, if you're planning on traveling to a border town, you might want to give that a second thought but you might've wanted to give it a second through before you booked the trip," said Banks.

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