The bodies of Shaeed Woodard and Zindell Brown are currently being examined by the Mexican authorities. Their remains will be sent to the US shortly thereafter. Two other Americans – Latavia Washington McGee and Eric Williams – were kidnapped along with Woodard and Brown, but they survived. They have been taken to a local Texas hospital where they are being treated and evaluated.
Tamaulipas Governor Américo Villarreal told CNN that one person has been detained in connection to the incident, but he would not reveal the suspect’s identity nor confirm whether the person is affiliated with a criminal organization.
“The victims were found in a wooden house in Matamoros and had been transferred to various places over the days in order to create confusion and avoid rescue efforts,” Villarreal further stated.
The group of abductees had traveled to Mexico from South Carolina so that McGee could perform a medical procedure in the country, family members told CNN. Authorities believe they were kidnapped under what appears to have been a mistaken identity.
“The group crossed into Matamoros in the state of Tamaulipas, at about 9:18 a.m. Friday, Villareal said, but they got lost while trying to locate the medical clinic, McGee’s close friend told CNN. “They reached out to the doctor’s office for directions on Friday but were struggling to communicate with the office because they had a poor cellphone signal.”
Once they crossed the border shooters struck them with bullets and were “placed in a vehicle and taken from the scene by armed men,” according to the FBI, which believes the group was targeted by a Mexican cartel who thought they were Haitian drug smugglers.
Many Mexican cities have been focal points of violence in what has been a long-running Mexican drug war that has plagued the country in recent years.