Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, Mexico — An American family returning to the U.S. after a holiday visit to Mexico came under attack just south of Texas on Saturday night, with armed gunmen killing a 13-year-old and wounding three other people. The attorney general's office in the state of Tamaulipas said the child was a U.S. citizen and that the parents were permanent residents of the U.S. They didn't release the victims' names.
The family was traveling in a Chevrolet SUV with Oklahoma state plates, returning from a holiday visit to relatives in the state of San Luis Potosi.
The highway on which they were shot is considered high risk. It runs through an area that's disputed by criminal groups, including the Gulf Cartel and Zetas. The road connects the city of Mier with Nueva Ciudad Guerrero, on the banks of the Rio Grande across the U.S.-Mexico border from Falcon Heights, Texas.
In November, an ambush in northern Mexico left nine American women and children dead. Prosecutors said last week a total of seven suspects have now been detained in connection with that attack.
Tamaulipas has been a major conduit for drug shipments and has also been the scene of some of the worst massacres and fiercest fighting in Mexico's drug war. That war left 28,689 people dead in Mexico in 2017, according to government statistics -- the highest number ever recorded, and likely was even more deadly.
But as CBS News' Haley Ott discovered, there are at least 36,000 more people in the country who have simply vanished amid the bloodshed. Known as desaparecidos, or "the disappeared," some are abducted, others are caught in the crossfires of the cartel-related violence that permeates Mexican society.
Many are presumed dead, but without bodies, their families are left without answers, and sometimes with the grim burden of trying to find their missing loved ones' remains on their own. Watch the full report in the player at the top of this page.