The four US citizens shot at and abducted in Mexico were identified by family members Monday as a group of friends from South Carolina.
Latavia “Tay” McGee, Shaeed Woodard, Zindell Brown and Eric James Williams — who remain missing — had traveled to Mexico for a cosmetic medical procedure when they were abducted on Friday, according to relatives who spoke to ABC News and The Associated Press.
“This is like a bad dream you wish you could wake up from,” said Brown’s sister Zalandria Brown. “To see a member of your family thrown in the back of a truck and dragged, it is just unbelievable.”
She said her brother had two friends had accompanied a third pal to get a tummy tuck surgery.
McGee’s mother Barbara Burgess, 54, told ABC News that she was concerned about her daughter’s trip to get cosmetic work done and warned her not to go.
But her daughter told her “Ma, I’ll be okay,” before leaving on the journey Wednesday, she recalled.
McGee was scheduled to have the surgery on Friday. She called her mother to say she was 15 minutes away from the doctor’s office, Burgess said.
That was the last time she heard from her daughter.
“Her phone just started going to voicemail,” Burgess told the news station.
The group had crossed over the southern border from Texas into the notoriously dangerous city of Matamoros in Tamaulipas when their white minivan came under fire and they were grabbed by gunmen.
Shocking video of the purported abduction posted online shows men in bulletproof vests pushing a woman into the flatbed of a white pickup truck before carrying a man and throwing him into it. Then they dragged two more men across the ground into the same flatbed.
The woman sat up in the back, while two of the men appeared to be unresponsive — either wounded or dead, according to the footage and a witness.
“The other two they dragged across the pavement, we don’t know if they were alive or dead,” said the witness who asked not to be named to protect herself.
The FBI is offering a $50,000 reward for the return of the victims and arrests of the gunmen.
Earlier Monday, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador had said the four Americans came to Mexico to purchase medicine. He also confirmed that one Mexican citizen was killed in the broad-daylight shooting.
Matamoros, the city where the Americans were kidnapped, has been plagued by fighting among factions of the Gulf drug cartel for several years. Gunfights had gotten so intense Friday that the US Consulate issued an alert about the danger.
The State Department warns US citizens against traveling to Tamaulipas, but many Americans who live near the border often cross it to visit family and attend appointments in the area.