CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - By Thursday night, a Facebook post announcing the death of 34-year-old Mooresville teacher Patrick Braxton-Andrew had been shared more than 1,300 times.
The teacher had been missing since Oct. 28 and was reportedly last seen alive in the Mexican town of Urique, where he had been traveling.
WBTV Safety and Security Expert Karl de la Guerra said the area is not one where travel is recommended for United States citizens. He said the town is on the edge of Mexico’s golden triangle, an area of land between the states of Chihuahua, Durango and Sinaloa.
“It’s an area that is known for its kidnapping, torture, murder, money-laundering, bribery,” explained de la Guerra in an interview Thursday night.
Urique is in the northern state of Chihuahua. According to the United States Department of State, U.S. citizens are urged to reconsider traveling to Chihuahua because of crime in the area.
The government website notes that violent crime and gang activity are widespread in the state.
“We know that those areas up there are controlled by the Cartel,” said de la Guerra. “Its public knowledge that the state of Chihuahua is controlled by the Juarez Cartel or the new Juarez Cartel as it’s called.”
De la Guerra urges travelers to visit the U.S. Department of State website before venturing out of the country. The site can be accessed at travel.state.gov.
“You will find the location you are going to travel at and follow the recommendations that are there. Those recommendations are based on intelligence that our government receives - information that they want to make public to American citizens to let them know of the dangers and risks of traveling into conflict areas like this,” said de la Guerra.
It’s still unclear how and why Braxton-Andrew was killed. According to the Facebook group that has provided updates on the situation, the teacher’s body has still not been recovered.