American freed after being abducted and detained for 8 months in Mexico

An American abducted in Mexico and held by kidnappers for eight months was released Friday evening and is safe and sound, FBI officials said Saturday.

Monica De Leon Barba, of San Mateo County, Calif., just south of San Francisco, was abducted on her way home from work with her dog in Tepatitlán, Mexico on Nov. 29, the office said Saturday.

While it’s unclear what prompted the release, working for his freedom was a constant goal during De Leon Barba’s ordeal, the office said.

“Over the past eight months, FBI personnel in California and Mexico have worked tirelessly with family and with partners here and in Mexico,” said Robert Tripp, FBI Special Agent in Charge of the San Francisco Bureau. , in a press release. “Our relief and joy at Monica’s safe return is profound.”

Monica De Leon Barba.  (FBI San Francisco)

Monica De Leon Barba. (FBI San Francisco)

No information about his captors was available, and the FBI did not mention the drug cartels when communicating about the case. The cartels have been linked to the rise of kidnappings as a criminal enterprise in Mexico.

De Leon Barba’s brother told NBC Bay Area that the FBI said claims were made during his abduction. The FBI has yet to comment on the claims.

In April, the FBI released two security camera videos of De Leon Barba’s abduction by suspects using multiple vehicles. The office said it hoped the videos would prompt witnesses to provide details of what they saw when she was abducted from a street, leaving her dog behind. Relatives later recovered the dog.

“No arrests have been made and an investigation into the identity of his captors is still ongoing,” the San Francisco FBI said in its statement on Saturday.

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