Two of the four U.S. citizens kidnapped in Mexico have been found dead, while the other two have been found alive, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Tuesday.
One of the two found alive was injured, according to Tamaulipas Gov. Americo Villarreal, adding that emergency medical services are responding at the scene.
Mr. Villarreal’s remarks came during a morning news conference with Mr. Lopez Obrador. The governor said details about the four Americans have been confirmed by prosecutors.
“Of the four, two of them are dead, one person is wounded and the other is alive and right now the ambulances and the rest of the security personnel are going for them to give the corresponding support,” Mr. Villarreal said.
The governor did not share any additional details about where or how they were found.
Ken Salazar, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, said in a statement Monday afternoon that an innocent Mexican was killed in the incident, but did not offer any more information. He said the assailants were unknown.
The four Americans were identified as Zindell Brown, Eric James Williams and cousins Latavia “Tay” McGee and Shaeed Woodard. It was not clear who were found dead and who were alive.
The Americans were kidnapped by armed men in Mexico on Friday after they came under gunfire shortly after crossing the border into the city of Matamoros in Tamaulipas state.
Matamoros lies just across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas.
The victims were reportedly in Mexico while one planned to go under a medical procedure. They were victims of mistaken identity, Mr. Lopez Obrador said Monday.
White House national security spokesperson John Kirby offered his condolences to the friends and families of those killed in the attack.
When asked if the Biden administration would send more military aid to Mexico to battle the cartels, Mr. Kirby demurred.
“It’s just too soon for me to speak on any policy changes or vectors as a result of this attack. We are still learning more from the Mexican officials right now. We don’t have these Americans back on home soil, and that’s really what our focus is right now,” he said.
Mr. Kirby’s remarks come as Republicans blame Mr. Biden for the incident, saying the lack of security along America’s southern border have emboldened the drug cartels.
“Another tragic reminder that Biden has given operational control of our border to Mexican crime cartels. When will enough be enough?” wrote Rep. Bob Goode, Virginia Republican, in a tweet after the deaths were announced.
“Mexico’s cartels have run wild since Biden took office — and American blood has been spilled. Is he going to do anything about it?” asked Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican.
Meanwhile, Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee hammered Mr. Biden, who has remained mum about the incident since it occurred Friday.
“Has Joe Biden said ANYTHING about the two Americans that were murdered by the cartels after being kidnapped in Mexico?” asked a tweet from the committee’s official account.
In 2021, 75 Americans were murdered in Mexico, according to the most recent data from the State Department. While that remains a small percentage of the 28.8 million who traveled to the country that year, more Americans died by homicide in Mexico than in every other country combined.
The victims entered Tamaulipas in a white minivan with North Carolina plates, the U.S. Embassy in Mexico said.
“Shortly after crossing into Mexico, unidentified gunmen shot the passengers of the vehicle,” the embassy said. “The gunmen herded the four U.S. citizens into another vehicle and fled the scene with them.”
The FBI is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible.
Some of the victims’ family members have spoken to the press.
“This is like a bad dream you wish you could wake up from,” Zalandria Brown, the sister of Zindell Brown, told The Associated Press before the deaths were announced.
“To see a member of your family thrown into the back of a truck and dragged is just unbelievable,” she said, commenting on a video showing armed men wearing protective vests forcing a woman into the back of the truck and pushing three others to the truck.
Ms. Brown said one member of the group intended to undergo a cosmetic medical procedure known as a tummy tuck in Mexico.
Barbara Burgess, the mother of Latavia McGee, told ABC News that her daughter was the one who sought the medical procedure. She said she has not spoken to her daughter since Friday, when Ms. McGee called her to say she was 15 minutes away from the doctor’s office.
The State Department has issued a “Level 4: Do Not Travel” advisory for U.S. citizens entering Tamaulipas because of rampant crime and kidnapping.
Matamoros is home to warring factions of the Gulf drug cartel. Shootouts were so bad Friday, the U.S. Consulate issued an alert about the danger and local authorities warned people to shelter in place.
It was not immediately clear whether or how the abductions could have been connected to that violence Friday.
Victims of violence in Matamoros and other large border cities of Tamaulipas often go uncounted, because the cartels are known to take their dead or wounded members back with them. Local media also often avoid reporting on such incidents out of safety concerns, creating an information vacuum.
• This article is based in part on wire service reports.