5 Things To Know About The 2 Americans Killed In Mexico
More details have come to light about the four Americans kidnapped at gunpoint on March 3 in Mexico. CNN, citing U.S. officials familiar with the investigation, identified the two survivors as Latavia Washington McGee and Eric Williams. The two deceased men were Shaeed Woodard and Zindell Brown. All hailed from South Carolina.
Hours after they were found on March 7, ambulances transported McGee and Williams to an international bridge at the U.S.-Mexico border near Brownsville, Texas. They were taken to a hospital for treatment and observation. Williams was shot in his legs, but McGee was not physically injured.
Meanwhile, Mexican authorities are slated to conduct autopsies on Woodard and Brown before releasing their remains to U.S. officials.
The four friends drove from South Carolina to Mexico for McGee’s cosmetic surgery appointment on March 3. But they got lost after crossing the border into Matamoros, Mexico and couldn’t get a good mobile phone connection to ask the doctor’s office for directions. It was the second medical trip to Mexico for McGee, a mother of six.
Mexican cartel gunmen fired at the Americans’ vehicle near the border and abducted them. U.S. Investigators suspect that they were mistaken for Haitian drug smugglers.
Mexican authorities detained one person in connection to the kidnapping, in an ongoing investigation. As more information emerges, here are a few things we know about Woodard and Brown.
1. Woodard and McGee were cousins
McGee’s mother, Barbara Burgess, told ABC News that her daughter and Woodard were cousins. They grew up together and were more like siblings, a mutual cousin, Hakquan Burgess noted to The Daily Beast.
2. Family members share memories of Woodard
In a NewsNation interview, Betty McGill, the aunt of Woodard and McGee, recalled that her nephew, 33, was a “quiet” and “very helpful” person.
3. Brown joined the road trip to help his friends
Brown’s sister, Zalandria Brown, told The Associated Press that her younger brother, who lived in Myrtle Beach, S.C., was a close friend of his three traveling companions. He went with them in part to help split up the driving.
4. Concerns about traveling to Mexico
Zalendria Brown said the friends understood the dangers of traveling to Mexico and her brother had misgivings about the road trip.
“Zindell kept saying, ‘We shouldn’t go down,’” Brown recalled him saying.
Violent crime – including homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery – is widespread in Mexico, according to a U.S. State Department travel advisory, which lists Mexican states where abductions are common.
5. Family members unaware of the trip
Some family members were shocked to learn of the abduction because they didn’t know about the trip. Brown’s grandmother, Marie Singletary, said he didn’t mention the dangerous trip to Mexico when they last spoke, The Greenville News reported, adding that she was “in denial” when Zalendria informed her of the kidnapping.