Mexican Officials Report Two of Four U.S. Citizens Kidnapped In Mexico Are Found Dead

March 7, 2023
A photo of a dark sunset

We send our condolences to the relatives of the victims, their friends, to the people of the U.S., to the government of the U.S.

Mexican President López Obrador after the governor of the state of Tamaulipas said that two of the four U.S. citizens kidnapped in the state were found dead.

Why It Matters: According to Governor Américo Villarreal of Tamaulipas, two individuals were found dead and two alive, though one is injured with "a major wound" in his leg. The gov. said Tuesday morning, "right now the ambulances and the rest of the security personnel are going to give the corresponding support," offering no further details about how or where the individuals were found. The surviving individuals were taken to a hospital in Brownsville, Texas on Tuesday. Pres. López Obrador said one suspect has been detained related to the kidnapping, and that "The FBI is working in coordination with the [Mexican] security ministry." The U.S. government has confirmed the death of these two individuals.

Brief background on what we know so far:

  • Who/What/How: Four U.S. citizens were kidnapped after traveling into Matamoros, Mexico, for a medical procedure. They travelled by van from Brownsville, Texas, and reportedly got caught up amid fighting between cartel groups. A video purportedly of the incident shows they were then taken into the back of a vehicle by gunmen. U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar, said that during the incident, "an innocent Mexican citizen" was killed.
  • Where: Northern Mexican city of Matamoros, located in the state of Tamaulipas and about one mile from U.S. border crossings. The U.S. State Department considers Tamaulipas as Level 4, do not travel "due to crime and kidnapping." According to television station 3News, "This warning was first issued in 2022, and officials re-issued warnings March 3," the day the kidnapping occurred.
  • When: Friday, March 3, 2023
  • Why: Unknown. The New York Times reports, "it is not very common for U.S. nationals to be kidnapped in Mexico. … Cartels often avoid targeting American nationals, fearful of the blowback it will cause by the U.S. law enforcement. The kidnapping Friday has left officials in Washington wondering if the American nationals were unintentionally caught up in criminal violence or purposefully targeted."

Click HERE to see U.S. State Dept's advisories for states in Mexico. In Mexico, the State Dept. currently considers six states in at Level 4 (Do not travel), seven states at Level 3 (Reconsider travel), 16 states and Mexico City at Level 2 (Exercise increased caution), and two states as Level 1 (Exercise normal precautions). Below we have copied the State Dept.'s advisories for Mexico, beginning with Level 4 down to Level 1:

Do Not Travel To:

Reconsider Travel To:

Exercise Increased Caution When Traveling To:

Exercise Normal Precautions When Traveling To:


2 kidnapped Americans found dead in Mexico, 2 others alive (The Associated Press)

Two of Four Americans Kidnapped in Matamoros, Mexico, Found Dead (The Wall Street Journal)

by Jenna Lee,