U.S. Marine and kin grabbed by kidnappers in rural México

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation is searching for clues in the kidnapping of a U.S. Marine reservist in México.

The FBI says U.S. citizen and Iraq War veteran Armando Torres, III, disappeared May 14, along with his father and uncle, who are Mexican citizens.

A statement by the FBI’s San Antonio division says armed gunmen took the three men by force from Torres’ father’s ranch in La Barranca in Mexico’s northeastern state of Tamaulipas.  The statement says Torres had driven across the border from the southern U.S. state of Texas to visit the ranch.

Torres’ sister, Cristina, said her family members’ abductions came as a shock.

“It is just shocking, you know, because you do not want to believe it.  My cousin called me,” she said. “She told me that she had seen a white truck outside the house.  She saw several people just get out the car and go into the house.  And they grabbed my brother, and my uncle, and my father, and they just, you know, just took them.”

The FBI is turning to the public for help identifying those responsible for the kidnapping.  Anyone with information is being asked to call the agency at 956-546-6922.

México has been plagued by kidnappings in recent years, many of them carried out by the nation’s drug cartels.  Official figures showed 1,043 cases between January and October 2012, although experts say the numbers are likely much higher.

In addition to the Mexican criminal investigation, the FBI says it has opened an international investigation in the case.

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