The Federal Bureau of Investigation has offered a $20,000 reward in a kidnapping case involving a great-grandmother who was reported to be kidnapped in Mexico in what is the latest reported incident involving an American citizen going missing in the country.
Maria del Carmen Lopez, 63, was kidnapped from her home in Pueblo Nuevo, Colima, Mexico, on February 9, the FBI announced in a news release shared last week. Lopez is reported to have lived in both Southern California and Mexico and has American citizenship.
Lopez's family said they were contacted by her kidnappers and asked to pay a large ransom.
"We were able to hear what sound to us like a recording of her pleading for us to please help her," Lopez's daughter, Zonia, told NBC News last Friday (March 17).
Lopez's family said she was abducted from her home by men who were described as armed and dangerous. An FBI spokeswoman told NBC News that they believe the incident was a targeted kidnapping.
The prosecutor's office in Colima claimed it kept the incident from the public spotlight in an effort to keep the victim safe, adding that it has been working with the FBI on the case, which has now been taken over by the specialized prosecutor for organized crime, NBC News reports.
The FBI's offer and shared information regarding the case comes after four Americans were kidnapped in Mexico while crossing the border for a medical procedure earlier this month. Two victims were killed and two others safely returned to the U.S.
Three women were also reported to be missing for nearly a month after crossing the border from Mexico to sell clothes at a flea market in Montemorelos on February 24. Authorities have only shared limited details regarding the case.