Northern Arizona University
Photo of Veronica Perez Rodriguez.
Armed men kidnapped an American university professor while she was visiting her mother in the violent Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez, the state prosecutor's office said Saturday.
The American was identified as Veronica Perez Rodriguez, an archeologist at Northern Arizona University.
A source at the Chihuahua state prosecutor's office said she was visiting her mother in Ciudad Juarez Friday afternoon "and the moment she left her family's house she was intercepted by armed men and deprived of her liberty."
Since 2003, Perez has been an associate professor of anthropology at the university in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Perez attended elementary, junior high, and high school in Ciudad Juarez, according to her resume, posted on the university's website. She is fluent in Spanish and English.
Perez, on her Northern Arizona University web page, describes herself as an ecological and environmental anthropologist and archeologist.
"My primary focus is the study of social complexity, urbanism, and its environmental impact in the Mixteca Alta region of Oaxaca, Mexico," she wrote.
She earned two degrees from the University of Texas at El Paso and a doctorate in 2003 from the University of Georgia, according to her resume.
At least 39 U.S. citizens were killed in 2010 in Ciudad Juarez, which has 1.3 million people. It is Mexico's most violent city, according to a report by state prosecutors.
UPDATE: (thanks for the link sent in as an anonymous BB comment)
by Alex Hinojosa and Adriana Gómez Licón \ El Paso Times
The woman kidnapped in Juárez Friday is safe with family members, officials said.
Officials identified the victim as Veronica Perez Rodriguez, 34, an anthropology professor at Northern Arizona University. She was kidnapped in the Fuentes del Valle neighborhood along Manuel Gomez Avenue.
"Our law enforcement officers in Flagstaff have been working with the FBI and have reported that she is safe with her family in Juarez," Tom Bauer, spokesman at Northern Arizona University. "As far as we know, she's been emailing her colleagues."
Rodriguez was returned to her family on Saturday after an express kidnapping Friday morning, officials said.
An express kidnapping is a method of abduction in which the victim is forced to withdraw money from his or her account or the family is asked to pay a small ransom for the victim's return.