The White House on Tuesday responded to news from the Mexican government that two of the four American citizens kidnapped in Mexico are dead while the other two remain alive, calling attacks on Americans “unacceptable.”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said U.S. officials are still working with their Mexican counterparts to learn more and have all Americans returned home. She said the president has been regularly updated on the situation and expressed condolences for the families of the victims.
“I can confirm that U.S. officials are in touch with the families of the individuals, but again, we will respect their privacy regarding our conversations with them,” Jean-Pierre said, thanking members of U.S. law enforcement for their work on the case.
“Attacks on U.S. citizens are unacceptable no matter where or under what circumstances, circumstances they happen,” she continued. “We will continue to work closely with the Mexican government to ensure justice is done in this case.”
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, Reuters first reported.
The missing Americans were abducted after being caught in the crossfire of rival rug 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. He also expressed his sympathies for the victims’ families.
The four Americans were kidnapped in what authorities have called a case of mistaken identity.
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.
The FBI is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the return of the victims and arrests of those responsible.
Fox News’ Michael Lee, the Associated Press, and Reuters contributed to this report.