The FBI is offering a $20,000 reward for information that leads to the location of an American woman who they believe was kidnapped in Mexico.
The FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office said they believe 63-year-old Maria del Carmen Lopez was kidnapped from her residence in Pueblo Nuevo, Colima, Mexico, on February 9, 2023.
The FBI described Lopez as a Hispanic female with blonde hair and brown eyes, standing 5 feet 2 inches tall and weighing approximately 160 pounds when she was last seen. She is also distinguished by her permanent eyeliner.
Those with information about Lopez’s whereabouts can contact their local FBI office or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate.
CBS Los Angeles reported Lopez is a mother of seven children, several of whom live in the southern California area. Her family said she makes regular trips to visit.
According to Lopez’s children, one of their cousins saw a group of as many as five people at her home around the time of her disappearance.
“There was a car that drove into the property. There was an exchange of words, they did hear her say she would not get into the car,” Lopez’s daughter Zonia relayed to CBS Los Angeles. “Two individuals picked her up and another one came out of the van. They had their heads covered and they covered her mouth and that’s when they took her.”
Lopez’s family doesn’t believe she has connections to any gang or criminal activity and that her apparent kidnapping was a crime of opportunity.
“There was never any sort of threats, there was never any enemies, anything that would indicate that she was in any kind of trouble,” Zonia told CBS Los Angeles.
Colima is a small Mexican state located situated along the country’s central Pacific Coast. Zonia said her mother’s home was located in a remote area.
FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said the FBI is working with law enforcement authorities in Mexico to investigate Lopez’s disappearance.
NTD News reached out to the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office for more information regarding Lopez’s case, but they did not respond before this article was published.
Mexico Travel Warnings
The U.S. State Department provides a state-by-state travel advisory for Mexico. The advisory breaks the various Mexican states into categories from the least-severe Level 1 guidance to “exercise normal precautions” to the most-severe Level 4 “Do Not Travel” guidance. As of October 5, 2022, Campeche and Yucatan were the only Mexican states listed in the Level 1 advisory category, while the remaining 30 Mexican states were listed in higher precautionary categories, mostly with warnings related to crime and kidnappings.
Colima is one of six Mexican states under a Level 4 “Do Not Travel” advisory, with the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City citing concerns about high crime and kidnapping rates.
“Most homicides [in Colima] are targeted assassinations against members of criminal organizations,” the advisory states. “ Shooting incidents between criminal groups have injured or killed bystanders. U.S. citizens and [lawful permanent residents] have been victims of kidnapping.”
Four Americans were kidnapped earlier this month after crossing into the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas, another state under a Level 4 “Do Not Travel” advisory.
Two of the Americans—identified as Shaeed Woodard and Zindell Brown—were killed. The other two Americans were recovered alive, though one was injured. Mexican authorities have five suspects in custody following the Tamaulipas kidnapping incident and the Scorpions faction of the Gulf cartel has reportedly apologized for the kidnapping and killings.
A pair of sisters from Peñitas, Texas — Maritza Trinidad Perez Rios and Marina Perez Rios — and their friend Dora Alicia Cervantes Saenz have been missing since they crossed the border into Mexico last month. Mexican authorities are currently investigating their disappearance.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.