Latavia McGee: Mexican cartel abduction survivor who crossed borders for tummy tuck traumatized after watching her brother die
MATAMOROS, MEXICO: In a tragic incident, two of four US citizens were killed by gunmen in northeastern Mexico on Friday, March 3, 2023. Latavia 'Tay' McGee, one of four, was rescued from a stash house in Mexico six miles from where she and three friends were kidnapped at gunpoint. Footage shows her emerging barefoot and covered in dirt. She survived the horrible incident along with Eric Williams, her friend who was reportedly shot thrice in the left leg.
Two of her cousins, Shaeed Woodard and friend Zindell Brown were killed by the gunmen. Initially, it was reported that four US citizens were assaulted and kidnapped by gunmen. The four victims had crossed from Brownsville, Texas, into Matamoros, Tamaulipas. They had journeyed to the border city for medical procedures, reportedly for a tummy tuck scheduled for McGee, as receipts and bills were discovered in their vehicle. Meanwhile, 24-year-old Jose Guadalupe, 24, was arrested. He was in charge of monitoring the victims.
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'She was crying because her brother got killed'
On Tuesday, March 7, McGee's mother, Barbara Burgess said that she had spoken to her daughter, who was in shock but unharmed. "She's alive. I talked to her. The nurse at the hospital called and let me talk to her. She was crying. I asked her how she was doing. She doing okay. 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," as per Daily Mail. Further, Burgess added, "I appreciated their prayers. I thank them for praying because that's what I had needed. Prayer, it will change things. 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."
In a press conference on Tuesday, March 7 afternoon, the Governor of Tamaulipas, Américo Villarreal Anaya revealed that four were found in a house near a place known as La Lagunona in the town of El Tecolote in Matamoros and in the past few days the abductees were moved from place to place to prevent them from being found.
Governor Américo Villarreal further said, "It should be noted during the current administration a security strategy was established and very specific objectives were set for Tamaulipas, for the border, to take care of the border. The security strategy that was implemented has given very good results, I don't have the stats here right now, but the number of intentional homicides has dropped in Tamaulipas thanks to this strategy. The participation of the army, the strategy of the air force has been important."
Who is the other survivor Eric Williams?
Williams was the other survivor along with McGee. He was found with non-life-threatening gunshot wounds. Williams is being treated for his wounds at a hospital in a Texas border city but his wife, Michelle, says she was unaware of his plans to go across the border. She only got to know about his abduction from the FBI when they informed her, as he had told her that he was just going somewhere to help his friends. Any communication from her and her son had gone unanswered, presumably when they were abducted and since she does not watch such videos online, she was unaware of what her husband was going through to even connect the dots. Michelle says she was able to speak to him finally and he told her about the wounds he is being treated for and she is now 'happy and thankful' her husband is recovering at Brownsville Valley Regional Hospital in Texas. "But I'm also heartbroken that the other two families can't say the same," she told WBTV.
What was the response from the authorities?
Officials were unable to confirm whether the person detained is related to the infamous criminal organization 'Gulf Cartel' run by a feared leader known as La Kena. However, they are known to operate in the region. Mexican officials said that the group arrived in Matamoros at 9.45 am on Friday, March 3, and were caught up in the terrifying ambush, hours after arriving in town, at 11.45 am. It was thanks to the help of eyewitnesses that cops became aware of the kidnapping and that they were US nationals.
Governor Américo Villarreal said, "There has been close attention on the incident and medical support was provided to surviving victims while the president vowed those responsible will be punished." President López Obrador said, "Those responsible are going to be found, they are going to be punished, as was done when they murdered women and children, in Bavispe, from the LeBarón, Miller, Langford family. All involved were arrested."