Mexico: Even after a cartel apologized for committing what the father of one victim called “a senseless atrocity” that claimed the lives of two Americans and one Mexican woman, investigators are still trying to understand how and why four Americans were violently kidnapped in Mexico a week ago.
According to a Tamaulipas Prosecutor’s Office official acquainted with the inquiry, the situation is still “extremely unclear” to detectives gathering evidence on the kidnapping last Friday and considering all possibilities.
Although no suspects have been publicly identified, the Gulf Cartel, which is thought to be responsible for the kidnappings, is believed to have apologized and turned over five of its members to local authorities on Thursday, according to pictures circulating online and a copy of the letter that CNN was able to obtain from a source familiar with the ongoing investigation.
CNN has contacted Mexican and US authorities for comment but cannot verify the images’ validity.
The handwritten letter apologizes on behalf of the Gulf Cartel to the Matamoros community, Ms. Areli’s family, and the affected American citizens and families. Ms. Areli was a Mexican woman also killed by a stray bullet in the shootout.
Even though the letter is legitimate, according to the individual who shared it with CNN, Mexican and US law enforcement officials involved in the probe have serious doubts about the group’s sincerity in its apologies.
The 24-year-old Jose “N” has been apprehended in connection with the deaths of the Americans and was performing “monitoring functions of the victims,” according to Tamaulipas Governor Américo Villarreal. The authorities do not confirm whether the man is connected to criminal organizations.
Shaeed Woodard and Zindell Brown, two Americans who perished in the kidnapping, had their bodies given to US diplomatic authorities on Thursday after undergoing forensic testing, according to Tamaulipas Attorney General Irving Barrios in a tweet.
On Thursday, Woodard’s father, James Woodard, spoke to reporters. “I’ve tried to make sense out of it and tried to be strong about it,” he said. It was simply a mindless crime.
Latavia Washington McGee and Eric Williams, the two survivors, arrived back in the US on Tuesday to receive medical care. According to his wife’s statement on a GoFundMe website set up to raise money for Williams’s medical and living needs, Williams, who had been shot three times in the legs, had undergone two surgeries and had rods implanted in his legs.
Cheryl Orange, a fifth American in the group, was supposed to cross the border with the others on the day of the kidnapping but was forced to stay behind because she lacked the necessary documentation. She admitted to CNN that she had struggled with remorse for narrowly avoiding the attack.
“I used to beat myself up about that, and everyone keeps telling me I should be appreciative. I wish I was on Tay’s side,” Orange said, calling Washington McGee, her “best buddy,” by the monicker “Tay.”
The close-knit gang had flown from South Carolina to Matamoros for Washington McGee to receive medical attention. According to Washington McGee’s mother and a video of the incident, the companions were brutally stopped by shooters who fired at the Americans’ vehicle, loaded them roughly into the back of a truck, and then transported them away.
Before being discovered on Tuesday at a residence near Matamoros, the victims were transported to several sites, according to Villarreal. Prosecutors in Tamaulipas have since found the ambulance that was used to take the victims to a clinic for first aid treatment, which police have also located, according to a statement from the prosecutor’s office.
Hearing her voice was like music to my ears.
Orange remained behind at their hotel in Brownsville, Texas, as friends crossed into Matamoros last Friday. As nightfall fell and the friends still hadn’t returned, Orange grew increasingly worried; she told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Thursday.
Orange said, “I said something ain’t right. She expressed her concern to her boyfriend and Washington McGee’s brother.
The following morning, when it was time for Orange to check out of their hotel, Washington McGee and the others were still missing, according to Orange. She decided to phone the police then since she was so worried.
According to a police report, Orange reported the group missing to Brownsville Police on Saturday. According to the complaint, authorities checked the neighborhood jail to ensure nobody from the party had been arrested, but no more action was taken.
Orange eventually came upon the online-circulating video of the kidnapping, which showed Washington McGee being pushed into the back of a vehicle by shooters. At the same time, the remains of the other victims were being hauled in behind her.
“My muscles tightened. I misplaced my phone. After watching the video, she stated, “I simply started praying for their return because my stomach was in knots.
Orange could feel relieved when she finally heard Washington McGee’s voice after being found alive. It made me feel more at ease. Hearing her voice was like listening to music, she claimed.
The families of Woodard and Brown are left to deal with their loved one’s passing in the meanwhile.
“Watching those films and seeing him being dragged and tossed onto a car’s back was difficult for me. Seeing the video of the kidnapping, Woodard’s father remarked, “It’s like god was preparing me already to know that it was probably the worst.
According to his father, Woodard went to Mexico with his cousin Washington McGee for her treatment and to celebrate his upcoming 34th birthday. He called his son a “kind guy” and a “sweetheart.”
James Woodard remarked, “If you had told me this day was coming, I would never have believed it. A parent never expects to lose a child, he later continued.