LaTavia Washington McGee, a mother of six, and Eric Williams are recovering at an American hospital with no injuries after being kidnapped and barely avoiding death this week. Now, McGee’s mother is speaking out following a horrific ordeal that saw her daughter and three other U.S. citizens get kidnapped by Mexican drug cartels, leaving her nephew and another victim dead.
RELATED: Two Of Four Kidnapped Americans Found Dead In Mexico After Traveling There For Surgery
Barbara McLeod Burgess, McGee’s mother, spoke to CNN‘s Don Lemon about her daughter’s harrowing experience.
LaTavia Washington McGee’s Mother Speaks On Mexico Kidnapping That Left Two Americans Dead: ‘She Watched Them Die’
Zindell Brown, Eric James Williams, Latavia McGee and Shaeed Woodward reportedly traveled from South Carolina to Mexico for McGee to undergo a tummy tuck cosmetic surgery, according to BBC. Somewhere along the trip, the group was kidnapped by heavily armed men in Matamoros, Mexico.
“She said they had drove … they were going through … a van came up and hit them,” Barbara McLeod Burgess said. ” And that’s when they start shooting at the car. Some of them tried to run, and they got shot at the same time … Shaeed and [Zindell]. They all got shot at the same time. And she watched them die.”
Burgess also spoke on Shaeed Woodward, who was one of two Americans who were killed in last week’s traumatic episode.
“His mother had passed away when he was like 15, and (then) I had him. I miss him and I love him,” Burgess went on to say.
Fellow survivor Eric Williams, is at a Texas hospital to undergo surgery for three gunshot wounds in his leg.
Arrest Made In Mexico In Connection To Americans Kidnapped, Murdered
A suspect in the kidnapping of four U.S. citizens, two of whom were killed, has reportedly been arrested by Mexican officials.
Fox reports that Jose Guadalupe N., 24, was guarding the house where Latavia “Tay” McGee, Eric James Williams, Shaeed Woodard, and Zindell Brown were held captive and tortured by cartel members. It is not clear whether Guadalupe is affiliated with the Gulf Cartel, which is accused of the kidnappings in the area.
#México| Tras el secuestro y ubicación de cuatro ciudadanos estadounidenses en la ciudad de Matamoros el pasado 3 de marzo, autoridades del estado de Tamaulipas confirmaron el arresto de José Guadalupe 'N', de 24 años. pic.twitter.com/k8Tx2Nac8x
— Política Stereo (@politicaestereo) March 8, 2023
Sister Of Slain American Man Killed In Mexican Kidnapping Warned Family: ‘We Shouldn’t Go Down’ There
Meanwhile, the New York Post reports that the other of the two Americans killed in the Mexico cartel kidnapping had expressed his reluctance about traveling to Mexico, reportedly saying, “We shouldn’t go down,” according to his sister.
Zindell Brown apparently was well aware of the danger of traveling from South Carolina with LaTavia “Tay” McGee and Eric James Williams. The group had make the perilous track so that McGee, a mother of six, could undergo a tummy tuck procedure, his sister Zalandria Brown said.
“Zindell kept saying, ‘We shouldn’t go down,’” she said in a phone interview with the Associated Press.
Zalandria said his death has been “like a bad dream you wish you could wake up from.”
“To see a member of your family thrown in the back of a truck and dragged, it is just unbelievable,” she added.
Just the usual dragging of bodies after a cartel shootout in broad daylight, today in Matamoros.#Mexico #Narcostate #FailedState pic.twitter.com/bfWwNgjBcB
— David Wolf (@DavidWolf777) March 4, 2023
Group Of Americans Likely Were Unaware They Crossed Into Such Dangerous Territory, Official Says
Former State Department advisor Nayyera Haq said the group most likely wasn’t aware they were traveling to a dangerous area.
“The majority of Mexico is actually in the control of cartels. The government does not control all the territory there. In fact, the government of Mexico for decades has been complicit in ceding control,” she told NewsNation.
The group was unwittingly caught in the middle of gunfire between two rival cartel groups, the outlet reports. A disturbing video clip released Monday shows them being forced into the back of a pickup truck by gunmen.
So….four BLACK Americans are kidnapped and brutally attacked by MEXICANS (non-white, mind you!), and biden does not say ONE WORD??!
The MEXICANS mistook these Americans for HAITIANS!!
.@TheView .@Blklivesmatter .@TheRevAl .@NAACP Got ANYTHING to say??#Mexicokidnapping pic.twitter.com/toNaqbtzOG
— 🚔🇺🇸 Paul 🇺🇸🚔 (@MaannostaShines) March 8, 2023
U.S. State Department Had Warned Citizens Not To Travel To Tamaulipas Due To Cartel Violence
Mexican officials said a Mexican woman also died in the crossfire. The four Americans had traveled into Mexico from Texas in a vehicle with North Carolina license plates.
The State Department had previously warned U.S. citizens not to travel to Tamaulipas. However many Americans in Texas frequently cross country lines to visit family and attend medical appointments.
The area is also a well-known crossing point for people traveling deeper into Mexico, according to the outlet.
Meanwhile, the FBI is still offering $50,000 for the kidnappers’ arrest.