Recent violence involving Americans in Mexico has spring breakers reconsidering plans

4 kidnapped in Matamoros; 3 women reported missing in Montemorelos

SAN ANTONIO – Spring break is around the corner, and Mexico is a desired vacation destination for many. However, recent events along the border involving violence against Americans have some reconsidering.

On Friday, March 3, surveillance video showed four Americans kidnapped at gunpoint in Matamoros, Mexico. Two victims -- Latavia “Tay” McGee and Eric Williams, who is suffering from being shot in the leg -- are both recovering at a hospital in the U.S. The other victims, Shaeed Woodard and Zindell Brown, were found dead.

Read more: 2 kidnapped Americans found dead in Mexico, 2 others alive

“For a situation like this to happen is just devastating,” said Ana Thomas, a San Antonio resident.

On Feb. 24, three women from Penitas in the Rio Grande Valley crossed into Mexico and haven’t been seen since that day. Peñitas Police Chief Roel Bermea said Dora Alicia Cervantez Saenz, Marina Perez Rios, and Maritza Trinidad Perez Rios were heading to a flea market in Montemorelos.

The Penitas Police Department has informed the FBI about the missing women but has not been given any updates.

The recent violence and disappearances have some rethinking their spring break destinations.

“If I had plans, I would probably still carry them out, but that’s just me,” said local Ian Lowry. A few moments later, he said, “I’m sorry, I totally wouldn’t go. Yeah, I had to (think) about it and totally rethought it.”

Trinity’s director of international engagement, Dr. Katsuo Nishikawa Chavez, recommends traveling smart and avoiding areas deemed dangerous for Americans.

“If I was planning on going to Mexico over spring break and I was not going to a border town, I would feel pretty fine continuing with my plans,” said Chavez.

Chief Bermea thinks differently, hoping the women missing from his city return safely.

“They need to be careful. If you don’t have any business, why risk it?” Bermea said.

It’s advised to check the State Department’s travel advisories before taking trips out of the country. According to its website, The state of Tamaulipas, where the four people were kidnapped, is on the do-not-travel list. The state of Nuevo León, where the three women were reported missing, is on the increased caution list.


Click here to see the latest travel advisories

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About the Authors

John Paul Barajas is a reporter at KSAT 12. Previously, he worked at KRGV 5 in the Rio Grande Valley. He has a degree from the University of Houston. In his free time, he likes to get a workout in, spend time on the water and check out good eats and drinks.

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.

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