FBI offers $20,000 in case of great-grandmother kidnapped in Mexico
The FBI is now offering a $20,000 reward for the kidnapping of an American woman who lived in Mexico and has been missing for over a month.
Maria del Carmen Lopez, 63, was kidnapped Feb. 9 from her home in Pueblo Nuevo, Colima, Mexico, the FBI said in a statement last week. An American citizen, Lopez divides his time between Southern California and Mexico.
Her family say they were asked to pay a large ransom by her captors, who they say abducted her from her home while armed and masked.
“We could hear what sounded like a recording to us of her begging us to please help her,” Lopez’s daughter, Zonia, told NBC Nightly News on Friday.
The Colima prosecutor’s office said the case was initially kept from the public in an effort to protect Lopez. Authorities in Colima are working with the FBI and said the case is now being handled by the organized crime prosecutor.
An FBI spokeswoman told NBC Nightly News they believe Lopez was a targeted kidnapping. The Los Angeles field office is offering $20,000 for information that will lead to Lopez’s location.
There has been heightened interest in missing persons cases in Mexico after four Americans were abducted earlier this month as they crossed the border into Matamoros, Mexico for medical intervention. Two of those involved in the case were killed, while two others were safely returned to US soil.
Gulf Cartel Grupo Escorpiones issued an apology for the kidnappings, which a senior law enforcement official told NBC News authorities were legitimate.
Three women have also been missing for nearly a month after crossing the Mexican border to sell clothes at a flea market in the town of Montemorelos, Nuevo Leon state. The women, two sisters and a friend, have been missing since February 24.
Authorities released few details about their case.