Woodard and Brown were named on Tuesday as the two United States citizens who were discovered deceased in Mexico after being abducted at gunpoint during a horrifying exchange of gunfire between rival drug trafficking organizations, as reported by LAKE CITY, S.C.
Relatives stated that Woodard and Brown had journeyed from South Carolina to Mexico with Latavia “Tay” McGee and Eric James Williams so that McGee, a mother of six, could undergo an abdominoplasty surgery.
They acknowledged their disorientation, but soon after, the group traversed the border on Friday into the city of Matamoros, infamous for its high crime rates, situated in the northeastern region of Tamaulipas.
CNN reported that the team had difficulty locating the doctor’s clinic where McGee, 33, was scheduled for surgery on Friday, and the poor cellular coverage in the area made it even more challenging for them to communicate with the doctor’s office.
While attempting to determine their whereabouts, the four individuals found themselves entangled in the midst of a fierce confrontation between rival cartels.
Four individuals from South Carolina who hold American citizenship were kidnapped in Matamoros.
Following the gunfire, the team was compelled to enter the rear of a pickup truck during daylight hours, as depicted in the chilling footage of the gun battle.
Irving Barrios, the main lawyer of Tamaulipas region, expressed his belief that the lethal surprise attack was the result of a “misinterpretation, rather than an intentional attack.”
The initial speculation that led to the drug-related abduction was due to the sinister reputation of Matamoros’ organized crime. However, it was suggested on Monday by a close source to the Dallas Morning News investigation that the Americans may have been mistaken for Haitian smugglers.
On Tuesday, Williams and McGee survived an attack as they were rushed to Brownsville, Texas in a convoy of Mexican military trucks mounted with .50-caliber machine guns, escorted by SUVs and ambulances.
Tamaulipas Governor, Villarreal, stated, “although the injury was not fatal, Williams was struck in the left leg.” Despite not sustaining any physical harm, McGee managed to survive the traumatic experience.
The bodies of Woodard and Brown will be examined by local authorities before being sent back to the US, the governor stated.
Barrios stated that the tourists were discovered in a shack at “Bagdad Beach,” which is recognized as the Gulf coast, en route to Ejido Tecolote, a rural region situated to the east of Matamoros.
Shortly after being rescued, a photo of her taken by McGee shows her looking traumatized, with no shoes and covered in dirt.
Villarreal stated that they were being protected by an individual who has been apprehended.
“The Americans who were abducted had been moved around by their captors to create chaos and prevent rescue attempts, as stated by him.”
Darby Retha, Woodard’s aunt, was the first to break the news of Woodard’s death on Tuesday at her home in South Carolina. Her cousins, Woodard McGee, were also informed.
She mentioned that her niece had informed her about the medical process.
Darby remembered her previous discussion with her 33-year-old niece, “That was approximately a week ago,” She mentioned, ‘My stomach is getting too large.’ She mentioned tummy tuck. I asked, ‘Surgery for what?’ She replied, ‘I’m planning to undergo surgery.’ She came over to visit me.
“I had no idea where she was headed. I believed it was someplace nearby.”
Darby, 72, who is currently recuperating from a stroke and spends most of her time at home in Lake City with a nurse, has developed a strong connection with her niece, who frequently pays her visits. She mentioned.
Darby commented about McGee, stating that she is kind towards me and all the people I am acquainted with. Darby also mentioned that McGee is an excellent mother, and her children greatly admire her.
“She enjoyed dressing nicely. Beautiful attire. Hair styled. Her face fully made up,” she remarked.
Darby mentioned that she had a conversation with her nephew, Woodard, “a few weeks back.”
She tearfully expressed, “I make an effort to guide him towards making correct choices, but my limited mobility restricts me from doing much. I long to be able to assist them.”
Robert Williams expressed that the information about his brother Eric’s survival from the abduction was “a considerable source of comfort.”
“I eagerly anticipate meeting him once more and genuinely having the opportunity to converse with him,” he expressed.
“US State Department spokesperson Ned Price expressed the need for justice and responsibility regarding the violence endured by these Americans, which sadly resulted in the loss of two lives.”
The White House press secretary, Jean-Pierre Karine, stated that the administration is working with Mexican officials to help all Americans return to the United States and learn more.
“President Biden has been continuously informed about this occurrence,” she stated. “We offer our sincerest sympathies to their loved ones and acquaintances.”
Manuel Andrés López Obrador, the President of Mexico, on the other hand, condemned the coverage of the incident by the US media. He expressed his disapproval by stating, “The press remains silent like mummies when Mexicans are killed in the United States.”
Occasionally extending beyond the border, the abduction occurs as GOP lawmakers have demanded a more inclusive reaction to drug syndicate brutality in northern Mexico.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) stated on Monday that he wants to introduce legislation to classify foreign terrorist organizations and bring attention to their plans in Mexico.
The decision would enable the United States to employ military power against drug trafficking organizations.
Former Attorney General Bill Barr stated that López Obrador is “under the control” of cartels.
He informed Fox News, “The administration lacks determination, and it lacks the capacity to address the syndicates. They can employ aggression and vast amounts of money to contaminate the government. At this point, it is quite near to a failing narco-state.”
Barr proposed that in the event that Mexican authorities do not directly confront the cartels, they ought to step aside and permit US forces to assume control.
Additional coverage provided by Jesse O’Neill.