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2 kidnapped Americans found dead in Mexico, 2 others alive

March 7: 2 kidnapped Americans found dead

Two of four Americans abducted in Mexico last week when their van was caught in a shootout were found dead, a top Mexican official said Tuesday. The two others have been found alive, with one wounded.

Tamaulipas Gov. Américo Villarreal did not provide details on the extent of the wounded person's injuries, saying, "right now the ambulances and the rest of the security personnel are going to give the corresponding support.” The governor offered no additional information about where or how the U.S. citizens were found.

On Tuesday afternoon, Villarreal  confirmedthe arrest of a 24-year-old man who had allegedly been keeping watch at the building southeast of Matamoros where the bodies were found Tuesday morning. He also said that the man wounded in the incident and the woman who survived uninjured were returned to the United States ON Tuesday morning, and that the bodies of the two people who died were expected to be repatriated soon after investigators finished their work at a forensics facility in Matamoros.

The FBI reported Sunday that it was searching with Mexican authorities for the missing Americans, who were kidnapped Friday. A relative of one of them said Monday that they had traveled together from South Carolina so one of them could get a tummy tuck from a doctor in the border city of Matamoros, across from Brownsville, Texas.

Shortly after entering Mexico they were caught amid fighting between rival cartel groups in the city. A video showed them being loaded into the back of a pickup truck by gunmen. Officials said a Mexican woman also died in Friday's crossfire.

Villarreal confirmed the deaths by phone during a morning news conference by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, saying details about the four abducted Americans had been confirmed by prosecutors.

López Obrador said one suspect was in custody.

Mexico's president complained about the U.S. media’s coverage of the missing Americans, accusing them of sensationalizing things. “It’s not like that when they kill Mexicans in the United States, they go quiet like mummies.”

“It’s very unfortunate, they (the U.S. government) has the right to protest like they have,” he said. “We really regret that this happens in our country.”

The abduction illustrates the terror that has prevailed for years in Matamoros, a city dominated by factions of the powerful Gulf drug cartel who often fight among themselves. Amid the violence, thousands of Mexicans have disappeared in Tamaulipas state alone.

The FBI had offered a $50,000 reward for the victims’ return and the arrest of the kidnappers.

March 6: AMLO: Binational work underway to find kidnapped Americans

Over the weekend, four U.S. citizens were kidnapped in a northeastern Mexico border city.

Last Friday, the group crossed in a white minivan into Matamoros, Tamaulipas — across the border from Brownsville, Texas.

Gunmen opened fire on them, and then put the four into another vehicle and drove away, according to a U.S. Embassy release. The FBI is offering a $50,000 reward for help finding the victims and alleged kidnappers.

On Monday, Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said he thinks the case will be resolved. López Obrador said that his whole government is responding, and his security secretary is in regular contact with the FBI.

Born and raised in the Intermountain West, Murphy Woodhouse has called southern Arizona home for most of the last decade. He’s one of two field correspondents at KJZZ’s Hermosillo bureau, where his reporting focuses on the trade relationship between Arizona, Sonora and the rest of Mexico.Before joining the station, Murphy was a reporter at the Arizona Daily Star and the Nogales International. Prior to his reporting career, he completed a master’s degree at the University of Arizona’s Center for Latin American Studies and did three wildfire seasons with the Snake River Hotshots. He’s a proud graduate of the University of Montana’s School of Journalism.When he’s not reporting, Murphy is often out in the woods running or riding singletrack, or swinging in a hammock with a book.