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Families of Cartel Kidnapping Survivors Speak out About Harrowing Experience

The families of four Americans kidnapped in Mexico have spoken out following the rescue of the two survivors, detailing the harrowing ordeal that left two of the travelers and one bystander dead.

Barbara Burgess, mother of survivor Latavia “Tay” McGee, said that her daughter was alive and in a Texas hospital following the kidnapping, telling News 4 San Antonio her daughter experienced a living nightmare.

“I asked her how she was doing,” Burgess told News 4 of her phone conversation. “She doing OK. She was crying because her brother got killed, and she watched him die. She watched two of them die. They died in front of her.”

Members of a Mexican cartel kidnapped four Americans who traveled across the border from Brownsville, Texas, to Matamoros, Tamaulipas, last week allegedly seeking a tummy tuck surgery. Two of the Americans and an innocent Mexican bystander died during the incident, according to U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar.

The four Americans have been identified as McGee, Shaeed Woodard, Eric Williams and Zindell Brown, all of South Carolina. The FBI has said it cannot identify the survivors, but McGee and Williams have been identified by their families as the survivors.

Tamaulipas Gov. Americo Villarreal said that authorities found the four in a wooden shack guarded by a man, whom they arrested. The cartel had moved the Americans to different locations, at one point taken to a medical clinic “to create confusion and avoid efforts to rescue them,” according to WBTW.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price said at a news conference on Tuesday that the U.S. had repatriated the two survivors “with the assistance of our Mexican partners, with the assistance of our officials in Mexico.”

The department is working on repatriating the deceased, but Villarreal said that Mexico would turn them over to U.S. authorities following forensic work at the Matamoros morgue.

Burgess said she appreciated the prayers and support from the community “because that’s what I had needed.”

“Prayer, it will change things,” Burgess said. “It works out, and prayer, you believe in it and it’ll work. It did it for me, because I was praying for my daughter, and I know she was coming home. I knew it. I didn’t know when and what time, but I knew she was coming.”

Brown’s wife, Michelle, said that she did not know he was traveling to Mexico, only that “he was going somewhere to help two friends.”

“I didn’t hear from him after Friday,” Michelle told WBTW. “Friday morning he texted me and I texted him back immediately. He didn’t respond so I’m going to assume that’s when he was ambushed.”

She described feeling “a sense of relief” after learning that her husband was alive, saying she had not slept since Sunday.

“My heart is breaking for the other two families that don’t get to say the same,” she added.

Tamaulipas is one of six Mexican states that carries a travel warning from the U.S. State Department against visiting the region due to the elevated risks of violence targeting Americans.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday that “these sorts of attacks are unacceptable” and the Biden administration would “stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance.”

12 Comments
  • Antonio G. Urbizu says:

    Uninformed Americans. Do these people knew about what is going on in Mexico before they planned their trip? I guess now they know. These is what drug gang war is all about. The worse is that the Mexican government in cahoot with these delinquents. They take their share for what is worth. We have showed day after day the border problem, and they didn’t believe that there are bad people in Mexico. Well it cost their lives of two individual for being uninformed.

    • Snickers says:

      Antonio, this isn’t about booking a vacation, this is about THUGS going into a THUG country trying to buy drugs to feed our kids in the states with…. NOTHING TO DO WITH BOOKING SAFE VACATIONS. For real, stop downplaying what these criminal clowns are doing

  • Jose BidenChitpants says:

    Clearly, these Mexican criminals were actually White Supremacists trying to objectify blacks thru Macro-Aggression and a lack of sensitivity to racial intersectionality.

  • Snickers says:

    Sorry family of THUGS, not sorry for what happened, maybe you should have been decent parents when raising your THUGS… But instead, I’m sure you and your kin are putting on your Sundays best and getting ready to hold your worthless begging hand out for more of OUR MONEY…. Just so you know…I’m so over YOU, YOUR THUG OFFSPRING AND YOUR KIND IN GENERAL, pack up and get the FU¢k out of OUR COUNTRY, you do not belong and you are not US you NEVER will be either. Go get a job, not dealing drugs, not prostituting your young, but a REAL job, earn a living like the rest of us do, and quit sucking off OUR government, in other words…all that “respect” you seek…it’s earned, so EARN IT and stop raising THUGS!!!!!

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