The FBI is offering a $20,000 reward for information on the location of a 63-year-old US citizen more than a month after she was kidnapped from her home in Mexico.
Maria del Carmen Lopez was kidnapped on February 9, according to a statement from the FBI released earlier this week, from where she lived in Pueblo Nuevo, Mexico.
The FBI’s statement was minimal on the details of the case but described Lopez as a Hispanic woman with blonde hair, blue eyes, and permanently tattooed eyeliner. She is around 5 feet, 2 inches tall and weighs around 160 pounds.
Lopez moved to Mexico when she retired and is a mother of seven, according to CBS Los Angeles. Her children are desperate to get information on her whereabouts.
“It’s a horrible feeling not knowing if she is okay, not knowing where she’s at or who has her,” Zonia Lopez, her daughter, told CNN in an interview. “We’re literally powered by the strength that we know she has and the love that she has for us, and we are literally holding on to a thread of hope.”
In an interview with NBC News, the family said they believed the kidnappers were armed and masked at the time and that they were later asked to pay a large ransom by the abductors.
“We were able to hear what sounded to us like a recording of her pleading for us to please help her,” Zonia told NBC Nightly News on Friday.
Zonia also believed that the targeting of her mother was arbitrary, as she had no connections to any kind of criminal activity in the region.
“There was never any sort of threats, there was never any enemies,” she told CBS Los Angeles. “Anything that would indicate that she was in any kind of trouble.”
Authorities do not believe drug cartels were involved in the kidnapping, an FBI official told CNN.
The FBI’s announcement comes a few weeks after four Americans were kidnapped after crossing the border into Mexico. Two of the Americans were killed.
The Bureau is conducting the investigation with law enforcement authorities in Mexico, the statement said.