Federal authorities in Los Angeles are offering a reward in an effort to find a U.S. citizen who was kidnapped in Mexico last month.
Maria del Carmen Lopez, 63, was taken from her home in Pueblo Nuevo, Colima, Mexico, on Feb. 9, the FBI’s Los Angeles field office said in a press release Thursday. In an interview with NBC4, Zonia Lopez, one of the woman's seven children, said neighbors witnessed the kidnapping.
"They got off of the truck, they had hoods on their heads, and they exchanged some words. They said they did hear my mom say and plead that she was not going to go with them, she would not go," Zonia Lopez said.
She said her family was sent a recording of her mother in which she begged them to pay a ransom because her life depended on it.
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FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller told NBC4 that the agency has a longstanding policy of not paying ransoms. However, they do help facilitate ransoms if a victim's family chooses to pay.
Lopez is described as Hispanic, with blonde hair and brown eyes. She is 5 feet, 2 inches tall and weighed around 160 pounds when she was last seen. She also has tattooed eyeliner.
The FBI is offering $20,000 for information that leads to Lopez’s whereabouts.
Zonia Lopez, told NBC4 that her mother traveled back and forth between Los Angeles and Mexico. At the time of the kidnapping, her mother was alone in Mexico because her husband was visiting a doctor in LA.
Anyone with information is asked to contact their local FBI office or nearest American embassy or consulate. The FBI’s Los Angeles division can be reached at 310-477-6565. Tips can also be submitted online at tips.fbi.gov.