American killed in kidnapping Mexico tried to cancel tummy tuck over fears of drug cartels

One of the Americans killed in a kidnapping in Mexico expressed fears of traveling to the country before he and three friends were ambushed at gunpoint by members of the drug cartel.

Mexican authorities confirmed on Tuesday that Shaeed Woodard and Zindell Brown are the two US citizens found dead nearly four days after their abduction in the Mexican city of Matamoros, an area dominated by the Gulf Cartel.

Brown and Woodward traveled to Mexico from South Carolina with their friends Latavia “Tay” McGee and Eric James Williams, who survived the kidnapping. The group was driving from South Carolina and had just entered the border between Brownsville, Texas and Matamoros when they were caught in a shootout and forced from their van into the kidnapper’s vehicles.

Brown, Woodward and Mr. Williams had reportedly gone along to help Mrs. McGee share the driving duties, as she planned to have a tummy tuck she booked with a local plastic surgeon. But before embarking on the journey that would prove fatal, Brown told his sister Zalandria Brown that he was concerned about the dangers of visiting the cartel-dominated area.

“Zindell kept saying, ‘We mustn’t go under,'” Ms Brown told the Associated Press.

Brown’s grieving sister also spoke out over video supposedly showing the terrifying moment of the abduction. The footage showed several armed men forcing the victims into a pick-up truck in broad daylight.

“To see a family member get thrown into the back of a truck and dragged along, it’s just unbelievable,” she said.

Zindell Brown was found dead in a kidnapping in Mexico on Tuesday


Ms McGee’s mother said she had also warned her daughter not to visit Matamoros, which is on the US State Department’s “Level 4: Do Not Travel” list, but she said: “Ma, it will come Good.”

An unnamed state authority has said so Associated Press that the missing US citizens were found in a rural area east of Matamoros called Ejido Longoreño on their way to the local beach known as Playa Baghdad.

Mrs. McGee was unharmed while Mr. Williams suffered gunshot wounds to his legs. They have since returned to the US and are being treated at a hospital in Texas.

Autopsies on the bodies of the two fatalities have been completed and the remains are expected to be repatriated to the US, according to CNN. Officials familiar with the investigation told the network they believe a Mexican cartel mistook the victims for Haitian drug smugglers.

A suspect, 24-year-old Jose ‘N’, has been arrested. The man had to ensure that the victims did not escape during the three-day kidnapping and was arrested on the spot on Tuesday.

LaTavia McGee, kidnapped in Mexico last week, is in an ambulance after she was found alive in Ejido Longoreno


A member of the Mexican security forces stands next to a white minivan with North Carolina license plates and several bullet hoes

(Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Tamaulipas Governor Americo Villareal and Attorney General Irving Barrios said that while it has not been confirmed, it is likely that the Gulf drug cartel is behind the kidnappings.

The White House has denounced the attack and National Security Council coordinator John Kirby vowed Tuesday to get justice for the victims.

“We appreciate the hard work of the Justice Department, the FBI and DEA and the Department of Homeland Security…we are grateful for their prompt response to this terrible incident and for their continued cooperation with Mexican authorities,” Kirby said. to reporters.

“We will work closely with the Mexican government to ensure that justice is done in this case.”

Shaeed Woodard was killed during the kidnapping

(Facebook Shaeed Woodard)

Meanwhile, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Lopez Obrador claimed the tragedy will be used by the US media to portray Mexico as a dangerous country, in stark contrast to “silence when Mexicans are killed in the US”.

He went on to say that GOP politicians will also use the crime as an opportunity to push “their agenda.”

“We continue to work every day for peace and are very sorry that this has happened in our country,” he said. “We extend our condolences to the friends and family of the victims and the American people. And we will continue to work for peace.”

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