- By Madeline Halpert
- BBC News, New York
Two surviving Americans who were were kidnapped at gunpoint in Matamoros, Mexico last week are being treated at US hospitals.
Their two friends who were also abducted died during the incident.
One man, identified only as José “N”, 24, from Tamaulipas, has been arrested.
Latavia Washington McGee is recovering at the hospital with no injuries while Eric Williams is at a Texas hospital to undergo surgery for three gunshot wounds in his leg, his wife told CNN.
Michelle Williams said the news her husband was alive brought relief to her and their 11-year-old son, she told local ABC affiliate WBTW.
“My heart is breaking for the other two families that don’t get to say the same,” she said.
Shaeed Woodard and Zindell Brown died after unidentified gunmen opened fire as the group of four drove a white minivan on 3 March through Matamoros, a city of 500,000 people located directly across the border from the Texas town of Brownsville.
Their bodies are expected to be repatriated back to the US on Thursday.
A Mexican woman, believed to be a 33-year-old bystander more than one block away, was also killed in last Friday’s incident.
The group had travelled from South Carolina and crossed the border into Mexico because Ms McGee had an appointment for a tummy tuck, a cosmetic surgery procedure to remove abdominal fat, her relatives said.
The four Americans were found at a wooden shack outside Matamoros after being transferred to various locations between the kidnapping on Friday and their discovery on Tuesday “to create confusion”, Mexican officials said on Tuesday.
They were brought back under armed escort by a heavily armed Mexican military convoy.
Ms Williams said her husband Eric Williams was emotional as he spoke to her on the phone as he had considered Brown and Woodard to be like his “brothers”.
Ms McGee was also emotional, crying on the phone to her mother, Barbara Burgess, who told local CNN affiliate WPDE her daughter “watched two of them die” right “in front of her”.
A video of the kidnapping shows the four Americans being loaded into a pickup truck by heavily armed men. One is manhandled on to the vehicle while others appear to be unconscious and are dragged to the truck.
Investigators believe the Gulf Cartel, one of the oldest organised crime groups in Mexico, is responsible for the attack, a US law enforcement source told the BBC’s US partner CBS News.
Matamoros is in Tamaulipas state, one of six Mexican states that the US state department advises travellers not to visit because of “crime and kidnapping”.
Mexico is one of the top destinations worldwide for medical tourism.