Associated Press
February 9, 2009

HOUSTON – More than 200 American citizens have been killed since 2004 in Mexico’s escalating wave of violence, amounting to the highest number of unnatural deaths in any foreign country outside military combat zones, according to the U.S. State Department.

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The deaths included a 22-year-old Houston man and his 16-year-old friend who were hauled out of a minivan and shot execution style. They also included a 65-year-old nurse from Brownsville found floating in the Rio Grande after visiting a Mexican beauty salon and a retiree stabbed to death while camping on a Baja beach, reported the Houston Chronicle in a story published Sunday, which examined hundreds of records related to the deaths.

The State Department tracks most American homicides abroad but releases few details about the deaths. Most, however, occurred in border cities, including Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez and Nuevo Laredo, where violence has spiked with drug cartel feuds in recent years.

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