A woman in the group of four Americans abducted after they crossed over the border from Brownsville, Texas, to Matamoros in Mexico, went there for a cosmetic procedure, her family said.
Barbara Burgess, mother of Latavia McGee, one of the four kidnapped, told ABC News that she had warned her daughter not to go to Mexico for the procedure, but her daughter told her she would “be ok.”
McGee called her mother on Friday to say she was about to go to the appointment for an abdominoplasty — commonly known as a “tummy tuck.”
The other people in the group who went with McGee have been identified as Zindell Brown, Shaeed Woodard and Eric James Williams.
“To see a member of your family thrown in the back of a truck and dragged, it is just unbelievable,” Zalandria Brown, told The Associated Press about her brother.
Brown told the AP that the group was extremely close, and they all made the trip in part to help split up the driving duties. They were aware of the dangers in Mexico, she added, and her brother had expressed some misgivings.
The group was driving through Matamoros — which is across the border from Brownsville — in a white minivan with North Carolina license plates when gunmen opened fire, the FBI said.
An unnamed U.S. official quoted by CNN said investigators believe a Mexican cartel may have mistaken the Americans for Haitian drug smugglers.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador described the incident as a “confrontation between armed groups,” adding that his “entire government” was working to secure the Americans’ release.
A Mexican woman was killed by gunfire at the scene.
The FBI has offered a $50,000 reward for the safe return of the Americans.