(LOS ANGELES) — A California family is desperate for news after their mother was kidnapped outside her home in Mexico more than five weeks ago and has not been seen or heard from since.
Maria del Carmen Lopez, 63, a dual U.S.-Mexico citizen, was kidnapped in Pueblo Nuevo in the state of Colima on Feb. 9, according to the FBI, which is conducting a joint investigation with law enforcement authorities in Mexico.
Her family told ABC Los Angeles station KABC that witnesses described seeing a white van drive onto her property.
“There was an exchange of words,” her daughter, Zonia Lopez, told KABC in an emotional interview this week. “She was refusing to get into the van.”
Another individual reportedly got out of the vehicle and helped pull the mother of seven into the van and then they drove off, according to her family. The woman’s family has been unable to get ahold of her since.
“We all started calling her, to see if she would pick up her phone or answer a message, and we have not heard from her,” Zonia Lopez told KABC.
“At this point, we need answers, we need to find my mother,” she told the station.
The FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office announced this week it is offering up to a $20,000 reward for information leading to her location.
The State Department advises U.S. citizens not to travel to the state of Colima due to “widespread” violent crime and kidnapping.
The Lopez family — which said investigators informed them their mother’s case may be part of an organized kidnapping — is not losing hope.
“Us knowing how strong she is, and that she’s fully thinking of us seven, and if we’re bringing out that energy to her and we maintain those thoughts, we know we’re going to have our mom,” Zonia Lopez told KABC.
Maria del Carmen Lopez is described as a Hispanic female with blonde hair and brown eyes who is 5’2″ and weighs approximately 160 pounds.
Anyone with information about her physical location should contact their local FBI office or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate.
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