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      Family, friends react to UTB student's cartel-related death

      Jonathon Torres / Facebook Photo

      A 18-year-old freshman at the University of Texas at Brownsville is dead following an incident where cartel members allegedly hijacked a bus in Mexico.

      Details about the incident or where it took place were not immediately available but UTB officials confirmed the death of the Jonathon William Torres.

      According to school records, the student was an American citizen who graduated from a high school in Matamoros.

      According to the facebook page, Torres was born in Dahlonega, Georgia but lived in Matamoros.

      UTB officials said Torres was a freshman pursuing an Associate of Arts degree.

      Family and friends said Torres was a young man with big dreams who grew up in a humble, but loving family environment.

      They said Torres was attending UTB to pursue a career in medicine but those dreams came to an unexpected end.

      Deadly Incident

      Sources close to the family told Action 4 News that the incident happened last Wednesday night.

      A family friend said Torres was traveling to visit relatives in Ciudad Mante in southern Tamaulipas.

      The family friend told Action 4 News that several people aboard the bus were also killed.

      The family friend said a woman whose body was found next to Jonathan's had been shot in the head three times.

      Officials with the Tamaulipas Attorney General's Office could not immediately be reached for comment.


      The source said Torres' body was already cremated and that his remains will be taken to Ciudad Mante.

      Friends already started expressing their condolences on Torres' facebook page.

      "I learned a lot of things about you," one young woman wrote in Spanish. "I give thanks to God for having met you. You know that friends never die. I love you a lot Jonathon Torres. Rest in Peace.

      Another young woman echoed those sentiments.

      "Some who die are forgotten but you will always live in our hearts," she wrote in Torres' wall. "Rest in Peace Jonathon Torres."

      Another young man agreed.

      "I can only hope for the day when we will see each other again," he wrote. "Rest in Peace Jonathon Torres. I TMll miss you so much!"

      Travel Warning

      Officials with the American Consulate in Matamoros confirmed Torres' death in a written statement released late Wednesday morning.

      "We are in touch with the family and are offering all consular services available," spokesman Brian Quigley said in the statement. "The Consulate General in Matamoros expresses its condolences for this tragic loss.

      Quigley said American citizens visiting Mexico are encouraged to read the travel warning issued by the State Department as well as warden messages issued by the consulate in Matamoros.

      The State Department is asking American citizens to defer unnecessary travel to the states of Tamaulipas, Michoacan, Sinaloa, Durango, Coahuila and parts of Chihuahua.

      American citizens residing or traveling in those areas to exercise extreme caution.

      UTB Students React

      UTB students were shocked to hear the news about Torres' death.

      Criminal Justice student Jessica Wizar said students aren't safe from the violence.

      "It's very sad and it's very scary too to know that more students are getting murdered and I don't think it's safe anymore to be honest," Wizar said.

      Gabriela Mascorro said she avoids going to Mexico due to so many reports of violence there.

      "It's terrible to know you can't go over there to see your family because you're going to get robbed or murdered," Mascorro said.

      University officials expressed their also condolences adding that counseling services will be available for students through Student Health Services at (956) 882-3896.

      VALLEYCENTRAL.COM reporter Sergio Chapa contributed to this story.