The FBI is now offering a $20,000 reward for the kidnapping of an American woman who was living in Mexico and has been missing for more than a month.
María del Carmen López, 63, was abducted on February 9 from her home in Pueblo Nuevo, Colima, Mexico, the FBI said in a statement last week. A US citizen, López divided his time between southern California and Mexico.
Her family says they were asked to pay a large ransom by her kidnappers, who they believe abducted her from her home while armed and masked.
“We were able to hear what sounded to us like a recording of her begging us to help her,” Lopez’s daughter, Zonia, told NBC Nightly News on Friday.
The prosecutor’s office in Colima said the case was initially kept out of the public spotlight in an effort to keep López safe. Colima authorities are working with the FBI and said the case is now being handled by the specialized organized crime prosecutor’s office.
An FBI spokeswoman told NBC Nightly News that they believe Lopez was a targeted kidnapping. The local Los Angeles office is Offering $20,000 for information that will lead to Lopez’s location.
Interest in missing persons cases in Mexico has increased after four Americans were kidnapped earlier this month while crossing the border into Matamoros, Mexico, to undergo a medical procedure. Two of the people involved in the case were killed, while two others were safely returned to US soil.
The Gulf Cartel Grupo Escorpiones issued an apology for the kidnappings, which a senior law enforcement official told NBC News authorities believe are legitimate.
Three women have also been missing for almost a month after crossing the border from Mexico to sell clothes at a flea market in the city of Montemorelos, in the state of Nuevo León. The women, two sisters and a friend, have been missing since February 24.
Authorities have released few details about his case.