When Jennifer and Frank Massabki traveled to Mexico in May 2017, they had recently gotten engaged and were looking for potential locations to host their wedding later that year. But after what occurred over the next few days, they didn’t know if they ever wanted to set foot in the country again.
The couple rented a car from an American company in Mexico City and had been on the road for about an hour when another vehicle rear-ended them. When Frank got out to talk to the driver, two men with weapons descended upon them and took them hostage in their car, according to a police report filed with Mexico City officials.
The men commanded the couple to remove all of their jewelry and blindfolded Frank as the assailants drove them to a second location. “This is going to get a lot worse for you,” Jennifer recalls one attacker telling her (she and Frank are both fluent in Spanish).
The kidnappers told the Massabkis to start thinking of people to call in the U.S. for a ransom. After hours of being held hostage, several violent altercations, and a failed attempted rape, the two were able to free themselves. Frank ran and found police who returned to get Jennifer, who was hiding in a tree from her attackers.
The couple filed a police report, which MarketWatch reviewed for this story, and flew back to the U.S. for medical treatment, including an emergency surgery on Jennifer’s nose, which was broken during a fight with her attackers.
Mexican cities remain top tourist destinations
Jennifer and Frank Massabki are telling their story to caution other Americans heading to the country. Cancun and other Mexican vacation cities remain top destinations for U.S. travelers despite several safety warnings in 2017 and early 2018.
The State Department issued new “do not travel” advisories for five Mexico states following surges in gang-related violent crime in February and March. The states Americans have been strictly told to avoid are Colima, Guerrero, Michoacán, Sinaloa, and Tamaulipas. U.S. government employees are forbidden from traveling to those states due to “widespread violent crime.”
“We just want other people to know these dangers exist,” Frank Massabki said. “We were lucky to escape, and if our story can prevent one other person from going through what we went through, and what we almost had to go through, it would be worth it.”
SOURCE: KARI PAUL