An Ohio architect, his fiancée and her 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 been visiting his soon-to-be-wife Daniela Márquez in Zacatecas, told Fox 19 they have not heard from their son since he and her family went out to eat at a restaurant Sunday.
Gutierrez, Márquez, her sister Viviana and their cousin Irma Vargas did not return to Márquez’s Colotlán home at 10 p.m. as planned, Márquez’s mother Rosa Pichardo told TV Azteca. Nearly two hours later, Pichardo received a notification that her daughter was in Vivoras, about 20 miles north of Colotlán.
The SUV the group had been using was found abandoned in the Vivoras neighborhood, TV Ateca said.
“There were those who saw they were kidnapping them, there was a lot of panic, screams, but they didn’t get them out and they took the vehicle,” Pichardo said. “They took the girls, my daughter’s fiancé, Daniela. They took off, they went to Vivoras.”
Gutierrez had left Cincinnati to visit Márquez on Dec. 22, a trip his family says he makes often.
“He goes about three times per year,” his sister, Brandie Gutierrez, told Fox Wednesday.
Brandie said she last spoke to her brother on Christmas before they went out to eat. Later that night, she said she read reports of trouble in the area.
“The bars actually noticed screams,” she said. “There is something that is not right.”
The US Department of State issued a travel advisory for various areas in Mexico. Zacatecas is one of Mexican states the US warns “do not travel to” because of crime and kidnapping.
“Violent crime, extortion, and gang activity are widespread in Zacatecas state. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping,” the advisory states.
The Mexican government is reportedly searching for the missing family. A State Department spokesperson told Fox News that it is working with local authorities to help with search efforts.