Three women missing two weeks after traveling from Texas to Mexico

Maritza Trinidad Perez Rios, Marina Perez Rios, and Dora Alicia Cervantes Saenz have been missing since Feb. 24. AP

Three women missing two weeks after traveling from Texas to Mexico

Emily Jacobs

March 12, 01:09 AM March 12, 01:09 AM

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Three women have been missing since traveling from Texas to Mexico to sell clothing at a flea market more than two weeks ago, authorities said Friday.

Marina Perez Rios, 48; her younger sister Maritza Trinidad Perez Rios, 47; and their friend Dora Alicia Cervantes Saenz, 53, crossed the border from Peñitas, Texas, into Mexico on Feb. 24, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Peñitas Police Chief Roel Bermea said Friday the women were traveling in a green mid-1990s Chevy Silverado to a flea market in the city of Montemorelos, in the state of Nuevo Leon, when they disappeared.


Peñitas, a small border city near McAllen, Texas, is located about a hundred yards from the Rio Grande River. It is approximately a three hour drive from there to Montemorelos. The two sisters reside in the Texas town. It is unclear where Saenz lives.

The husband of one of the women told police he had spoken to his wife by phone while she was traveling to Mexico. He became concerned when he couldn’t reach her afterward and reported her missing to police.

Officials at the state prosecutor’s office said they have been investigating the women’s disappearance since Monday, and the FBI said Friday it was aware of the matter. Authorities have remained largely quiet about the case otherwise, something Bermea said Friday was a result of the being an international matter.

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“We did contact the FBI to let them know the ladies were considered missing,” Bermea told local station KRGV, adding that there’s “not much we can do ourselves” in a missing persons case in another country.

The Attorney General’s Office of Nuevo León, which is leading the investigation, said Tuesday that U.S. authorities had not intervened in the search because the women are Mexican nationals living in the U.S., rather than American citizens missing abroad.

The office said in a statement at the time that search operations for the women were being carried out daily, and that drones, all-terrain vehicles, and canines had been deployed. The statement also revealed that investigators are attempting to coordinate with authorities in the neighboring state of Tamaulipas to strengthen the search there, noting that the women’s families believe “that the event occurred there.”

Coverage of the women’s disappearance has been scant, especially in comparison to the high-profile kidnapping and murder of U.S. citizens in Mexico’s northern city of Matamoros earlier this month. The fatal March 3 incident involved four Americans — Shaeed Woodard, Zindell Brown, LaTavia Washington McGee, and Eric Williams — who were reportedly traveling to Mexico for a tummy tuck procedure.

Pictures from the scene showed a sign pointing toward the international bridge in the background, an indication of just how close the attack was to the border. The group’s vehicle crashed and was shot by attackers. The four passengers were pulled from their van, loaded into a pickup truck, and taken away by heavily armed narcos.

This week’s massive search for the group involved squads of Mexican soldiers and National Guard troops. Woodard and Brown were killed in Mexico, while McGee and Williams were rescued and brought back to the U.S.

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