North Carolina Teacher Who Went Missing in Mexico Was Killed by Sinaloa Cartel

The family of a North Carolina teacher missing in a remote part of Mexico received the news Thursday that Patrick Braxton-Andrew was killed by drug cartel members in late October.

Since he was last seen Oct. 28 in Urique, a tiny village in the country’s Chihuahua state, Braxton-Andrew’s family has been in Mexico working with local and U.S. authorities to locate the 34-year-old Spanish teacher, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

Two days later, on a Facebook page devoted to the search, Braxton-Andrew’s family stated they had been informed by Mexican authorities that Patrick was killed “on October 28th at the hands of a criminal organization that operates in the area where he was traveling,” the Thursday afternoon post stated. “The search continues to recover his body so we can bring him back home.”

Braxton-Andrew’s sister-in-law confirmed his death in an email to The Post.

Javier Corral, the governor of Chihuahua, wrote on his official Facebook page that investigators believe Braxton-Andrew was killed by a narco-trafficker operating in the region named José Noriel Portilo Gil, also known as “El Chueco.”

“Through the advances in the investigation, I can say that it was a cowardly and brutal assassination of a person who was totally innocent, a clean man whose misfortune was to cross paths with this criminal,” Corral wrote.

According to Mexico media reports, Portilo Gil is associated with the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel. Proceso reported that “El Chueco” — a name that translates to “twisty,” “crooked” or “bowlegged” — is a young man allegedly running the cartel’s business in the region surrounding Urique. In April 2017, Portilo Gil was believed to have been killed in an attack. But that September, Portilo Gil resurfaced when he and his associates allegedly led an attack on the State Security Commission in Urique.

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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Kyle Swenson