Three women missing after crossing from Texas to Mexico
Two sisters from Texas and a friend are missing in Mexico after they crossed the border last month to sell clothes at a flea market, US authorities said.
The abduction of four US citizens in Mexico last week received an avalanche of attention and was resolved in a matter of days. But the fate of the three women, who haven't been heard from in about two weeks, remains a mystery and has garnered relatively little publicity.
The FBI said Friday it is aware that two sisters from Penitas, a small border city in Texas near McAllen, and their friend have gone missing. Penitas Police Chief Roel Bermea said their families have been in touch with Mexican authorities, who are investigating their disappearance.
Beyond that, officials in the US and Mexico haven't said much about their pursuit of Maritza Trinidad Perez Rios, 47; Marina Perez Rios, 48; and their friend, Dora Alicia Cervantes Saenz, 53.
US Customs and Border Protection says the three women crossed into Mexico on February 24, according to Bermea. Penitas is just a few hundred feet from the Rio Grande River.
One of the women's husband spoke to her by phone while she was travelling in Mexico, the police chief said, but grew concerned when he couldn't reach her afterward.
"Since he couldn't make contact over that weekend, he came in that Monday and reported it to us," Bermea said. The three women haven't been heard from since.
Bermea said the women were travelling in a green mid-1990s Chevy Silverado to a flea market in the city of Montemorelos, in Nuevo Leon state. It's about a three-hour drive from the border. Officials at the state prosecutor's office said they have been investigating the women's disappearance since Monday.
The episode stands in stark contrast to the government and media frenzy over the abduction of four Americans on a road trip to Mexico for plastic surgery. They were caught in a drug cartel shootout in the border city of Matamoros, and video showed them being hauled off in a pickup truck. The two survivors were found Tuesday in a wooden shack near the Gulf coast.
The search for the kidnapped Americans involved squads of Mexican soldiers and National Guard troops. But for most of the 112,000 Mexicans missing nationwide, the only ones looking for them are their desperate relatives.
Authorities also lack manpower, equipment and training -- things are so bad that authorities aren't even able to identify tens of thousands of bodies that have been found.