On March 3, four Americans named Eric James Williams, Zindell Brown, and cousins Latavia "Tay" McGee and Shaeed Woodard, were kidnapped by five gunmen after crossing into Mexico. Four days later, two of the victims were found alive while two others were found dead.
Many questions remain, such as who was behind the attacks and what was the attackers’ motivation? The answers are unclear, but there has been new information about the kidnappers that could shed light on the situation.
As of now, the kidnappers’ motivations are unknown. Although, there is an ongoing investigation into the possibility that the kidnappers thought the Americans were encroaching on their terf. On March 10, the kidnappers were revealed to be part of the Gulf Cartel, a criminal syndicate in Mexico who are known to kidnap people.
Despite this, the cartel does not condone its members' kidnapping the four Americans. According to this CNN article, Cartel suspected of American kidnappings issues apology letter published on March 10, the cartel issued a handwritten apology letter and handed over five of their own members–those suspected of conducting the attack– to Mexican authorities. They have called the members’ actions “senseless violence.”
The article states that the letter reads as follows: "The [Gulf Cartel] apologizes to the society of Matamoros, the relatives of Ms. Areli, and the affected American people and families[.]” Ms. Areli was a Mexican woman killed in the shootout.
The letter also states that those five members went against the cartel’s rules, which include “respecting the life and well-being of the innocent.”
This apology comes as a surprise to the families of the victims, such as James Woodward, the father of Shaeed Woodward. The article Mexico cartel apology letter spurned by kidnapped Americans' families - CBS News published on March 10, states the man was “speechless' ' upon hearing the apology.
Both U.S and Mexican officials investigating the kidnapping doubt the apology’s sincerity and are looking to investigate further into the matter.
What happened to the victims? The article, Everything we know about the kidnapping of 4 Americans in Mexico - ABC News published on March 13, 2023, states that, “William and Mcgee survived the kidnapping. They were found on March 7 in a wooden house in Lagunona area, outside Metamaros [...]”.
As investigation into the kidnappings continues, one can only hope the investigators’ efforts prove successful.
Edited by: Mary May
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