Americans Who Survived Being Kidnapped By The Mexican Cartel Share Horrific Details of the Encounter

Americans Who Survived Being Kidnapped By The Mexican Cartel Share Horrific Details of the Encounter

Members of the group kidnapped in Mexico earlier this year are speaking out to tell their story.

LaTavia Washington McGee and Eric Williams sat down with CNN for an in-studio interview with Anderson Cooper to describe the horror they experienced when they were kidnapped by a Mexican cartel while traveling for a medical appointment in Matamoros. Shaeed Woodard and Zindell Brown, who were abducted with them, were killed.

Happening in broad daylight, the four friends were ambushed by armed men shortly after crossing the US-Mexico border. Investigators believe the Americans were mistaken for Haitian drug smugglers. Williams remembered driving and suddenly hearing a car horn behind them. Brown looked back, saw a gun, and warned the others not to stop the car. “They didn’t deserve that. None of us deserved it. But we’re alive – we have a lot of recovering to do,” Washington McGee said. Williams recalled jumping out of the driver’s side of the car when someone began beating on the car window with a gun.

“That’s when I was shot on both legs.”

Both survivors mentioned Brown and Woodward still being alive as they were dragged onto a pickup truck. They were then driven to another location for interrogation. “That’s where Shaeed said, ‘I love y’all, and I’m gone.’ And he died right there,” Williams said, fighting back tears.

Things got weird once they were alone with their captors. Washington McGee remembered one of the cartel members watching their kidnapping video on his phone, which he showed her. They also tried to force the two to have sex—even though they are siblings. Once they realized the story wouldn’t change, the crew attempted to treat Williams for his wound, stitching it up while his leg was propped up on a two-by-four.

Washington McGee tried to fight back tears as she remembered her last encounter with Brown, who was fighting for his life. “I just told him I’m sorry because I asked him to come with me,” she said. “He was like, ‘It’s OK. I’m your brother; I’m supposed to be there for you. I love you.”

Since the horrific incident, the cartel has sent a letter to authorities apologizing for their violent actions.