Family navigates grief after man killed by Mexican drug cartel

CHARLOTTE — Terrence Burgess and his family are trying to navigate the grieving process after his brother was one of two people killed by a drug Cartel in Mexico.

Shaeed Woodard, of Lake City, South Carolina, would have celebrated his birthday Thursday, Burgess said.


“At first, I was tore down,” Burgess said.

Grief, especially following the horrific circumstances that happened last week, is unpredictable for the brother.

“I miss the texts,” Burgess said. “Now it’s coming out. I miss the texts. Y’all don’t know how many texts we did. Me and my brother.”

Woodard was among the four close friends who traveled to Mexico last week to go with Latavia McGhee for a cosmetic medical procedure.

Soon after they crossed the border on March 3, U.S. investigators believe they were caught in a drug cartel shootout and kidnapped.

Woodard and Zindell Brown were killed. McGhee and Eric Williams survived.

“That’s nothing you will ever think your family would go through,” Woodard said. “I never in a million years thought my brother and my sister would go through something like that.”

Charlotte resident and spokeswoman for the Woodard family Dearest Price said that’s likely because the trip was also a surprise for Woodard to celebrate his birthday.

“They were just excited to take pictures and he’d never been outside of the country before,” Price said. “So this was the very first time. This was not a situation where you had people going back and forth to Mexico.”

Price said Woodard’s father is still trying to make sense of the circumstances.

“He didn’t really have time to tell his son ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ that he should go to Mexico,” Price said. “I don’t think he is living with regret. He’s just living with devastation right now.”

There is the uncertainty of what lies ahead for the loved ones.

“Because this happened in Mexico, part of the fear is, although they caught them, and although they have them, they are concerned about how it will be adjudicated,” Price said.

Burgess is relying heavily on faith.

“You got to think about the better,” he said. “You gotta think about where he is at. You can’t grieve forever.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Homeland Security are heavily involved in the case.

There is an online portal where the FBI is asking the public to submit pictures and videos related to the murder and kidnapping.

The attorney general in the Mexican state Tamaulipas where the attack happened said Friday that six people have now been arrested in connection with that deadly kidnapping.

VIDEO: Traveling safely in Mexico

Jonathan Lowe

Jonathan Lowe, wsoctv.com

Jonathan is a reporter for WSOC-TV.