The US State Department is working with Mexican authorities to find an Ohio architect, his fiancee and two of her family members who disappeared and Christmas Day.
Jose Gutierrez left for Zacatecas from Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport on December 22 to visit Daniela Pichardo, something his family says he does frequently, WXIX reported.
But neither he nor Pichardo have been seen since December 25, and family in Ohio fear they may have been abducted.
Pichardo’s sister Viviana and their cousin Irma Vargas went out to eat on Sunday but did not return at 10 p.m. as they were expected, Pichardo’s mother, Rosa Pichardo, told TV Azteca, which said their SUV was found abandoned in a town 20 miles north of Colotlan, where they lived.
“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, according to The New York Post. “They took the girls, my daughter’s fiancé, Daniela. They took off, they went to Vivoras.”
Brandie Gutierrez, Jose’s sister, told the New York Post she spoke with him before they went out to eat and read reports about trouble in the local news.
Zacatecas is one of the 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. US citizens and LPRs [lawful permanent residents] have been victims of kidnapping,” the State Department advisory reads.
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[Featured image: Daniela Pichardo, left, and Jose Gutierrez/family handout]