An Ohio architect, his fiancee and two family members went missing in Mexico on Christmas Day – and relatives fear they may have been kidnapped.
The family of Jose Gutierrez, who had visited his future wife Daniela Márquez in Zacatecas, told PKB 19 they had not heard from their son since he and his family went out to eat on Sunday.
Gutierrez, Márquez, his sister Viviana and their cousin Irma Vargas did not return to Márquez’s home in Colotlán at 10 p.m. as planned, Márquez’s mother Rosa Pichardo told TV Azteca. Nearly two hours later, Pichardo received a notification that his daughter was in Vivaras, about 20 miles north of Colotlán.
The SUV the group was using was found abandoned in the neighborhood of Vivoras, TV Ateca said.
“There were those who saw that they were kidnapping them, there was a lot of panic, shouting, but they didn’t get them out and they took the vehicle,” Pichardo said. “They took the girls, my daughter’s fiancee, Daniela. They left, they went to Vivaras.
Gutierrez had left Cincinnati to visit Márquez on December 22, a trip his family says he makes often.
“He goes there about three times a year,” his sister, Brandie Gutierrez, told PKB on Wednesday.
Brandie said she last spoke to her brother over Christmas before they went out to eat. Later that night, she said she read reports of trouble in the area.
“The bars actually noticed screaming,” she said. “There is something wrong.”
The US State Department has issued a travel advisory for various regions in Mexico. Zacatecas is one of the Mexican states that the United States warns against “not traveling” due to crimes and kidnappings.
“Violent crime, extortion and gang activity are prevalent in the state of Zacatecas. US citizens and LPRs have been kidnapped,” the adviser says.
The Mexican government is reportedly looking for the missing family. A State Department spokesperson told PKB News it was working with local authorities to help with search efforts.