Two of the four American citizens kidnapped in Mexico are dead while the other two remain alive, Reuters reported Tuesday, citing the governor of Tamaulipas.

Tamaulipas Gov. Américo Villarreal said Tuesday that one of the surviving Americans was wounded and the other was not, while two of the four U.S. citizens who traveled to Mexico were found dead.

Two of the four Americans who survived the attack are back in the U.S. The four Americans were abducted after being caught in the crossfire of rival cartels shortly after crossing the U.S. border with Mexico.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said during a Tuesday news conference that he has been briefed by the FBI on the situation unfolding in Mexico and said the State Department was working with Mexican authorities on the investigation.

Garland offered sympathies to the families of the victims of the attacks, and in a statement later on in the day confirmed reports that two of the Americans died in the attack.


The attorney general added that the Justice Department would be working to prosecute the cartel members behind the incident.

Dramatic video shows the moment four Americans were kidnapped shortly after crossing into Mexico, in what authorities have called a case of mistaken identity.

The video of the violent incident shows armed men in body armor dragging one person across the pavement and pushing a woman into the bed of a white truck, then dragging two more men who appear to be wounded across the pavement and loading them into the bed of the same truck.

Photos from the scene show a white minivan with North Carolina plates riddled with bullet holes shortly after the kidnappings, with a woman who reportedly witnessed the attack telling the Associated Press she saw the minivan collide with another vehicle before hearing gunfire and seeing armed men approach the van.

"All of a sudden they (the gunmen) were in front of us," said the woman, who declined to be identified for fear of retaliation. "I entered a state of shock, nobody honked their horn, nobody moved. Everybody must have been thinking the same thing, ‘If we move they will see us, or they might shoot us.’"


A photo of the wreck

A member of the Mexican security forces stands next to a white minivan with North Carolina plates and several bullet holes, at the crime scene where gunmen kidnapped four U.S. citizens who crossed into Mexico from Texas, Friday, March 3, 2023. (AP Photo)

She added that she saw the men force one woman who was able to walk into the bed of their truck, while another victim who she said could move his head was loaded into the truck. 

"The other two they dragged across the pavement, we don't know if they were alive or dead," she said.

According to law enforcement, the group of Americans were traveling to Mexico for health services last week when the minivan they were driving was attacked by a group of armed men, who shot at the vehicle before dragging the Americans out and loading them into a truck. The four Americans were not thought to be the intended target of the attack.

The group crossed from Brownsville, Texas, into the Mexican city of Matamoros, Tamaulipas, an area that has been plagued by cartel violence and carries a travel advisory from the State Department warning Americans to avoid visiting.

Mexican Natioanla Guard prepare a search mission for four U.S. citizens kidnapped by gunmen at Matamoros, Mexico.

Mexican Natioanla Guard prepare a search mission for four U.S. citizens kidnapped by gunmen at Matamoros, Mexico. (AP Photo)


One of the four Americans in the group, Zindell Brown, was identified by his sister, Zalandria Brown of Florence, South Carolina, on Tuesday, saying she has been in contact with the FBI and Mexican authorities since the incident.

"This is like a bad dream you wish you could wake up from," Brown told the Associated Press. "To see a member of your family thrown in the back of a truck and dragged, it is just unbelievable."

Brown said her younger brother is from Myrtle Beach and was visiting Mexico with three friends, one of whom was there to get a tummy tuck surgery.

She added that her brother was hesitant to make the trip, warning his friends about the dangers before they departed.

Mexican National Guard

Mexican army soldiers prepare a search mission for four U.S. citizens kidnapped by gunmen in Matamoros, Mexico. (AP Photo)


"Zindell kept saying, ‘We shouldn’t go down,’" Brown said.

The victim’s father, O’dell William Brown, said the family is reeling from the news.

"I don’t know which way to go right now," he said. "We don’t know what’s what."

It is unclear if Brown is one of those who died in the incident.

The FBI is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the return of the victims and arrests of those responsible.

THE Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report