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Then came the gunshots late one night inside Brian's bedroom in Silver Spring, Maryland, and the phone ringing 2,000 miles away in Mazatlan. The answer came two weeks later when police arrested four men, one of whom had arranged to meet Brian via a telephone chat line only to rob him, shoot him and leave him to die. It was in Mazatlan that O'Neil met Jorge, a handsome young Mexican with dark hair, green eyes and a tattoo across his tightly muscled chest reading “Warrior of God.” They had dated for a short time before opening a cafe together in 2014. O'Neil had gone on a date the night before with someone he'd met on a gay dating app, Jorge said, and O'Neil wasn't home yet, nor was he answering his phone. I will be there tomorrow,” Donnie wrote as he prepared to board a flight from his home in Maui to Mazatlan.
But to O'Neil Mc Gean, who stood in the Pierce Funeral Home parking lot in Manassas, Virginia, gripping a friend's hand and fighting back tears, Brian had been so much more. They had met at a stoplight, O'Neil's personality so boisterous it took him only a few seconds to make a lasting impression. O'Neil had moved there in 2006 after visiting a few times.
After agreeing to meet someone through a dating app, O'Neil disappeared - as did $16,000 from his bank accounts. How could O'Neil fall prey to the same trap that had claimed Brian six years prior? “Si, yo estoy aqui,” replied Donnie Mc Gean, O'Neil's oldest brother. ” “Not as good [as] I want.” They had met six months earlier when Donnie and his wife visited O'Neil in Mazatlan, a city known as the Pearl of the Pacific.
The same day, Donnie met with the prosecutor handling O'Neil's disappearance. He then showed Donnie a diagram of communications between the suspected kidnappers. The next day Mazatlan was packed with people celebrating the Day of the Dead.
To take his mind off his brother's disappearance, Donnie walked among the thousands of partygoers with their faces painted like skulls before ducking into a restaurant to call a kidnapping expert.
The FBI agent had warned him not to look at O'Neil's face, so Donnie identified his little brother by the Irish family crest tattooed on his shoulder.
Mexican law does not allow Mexican media to fully identify suspects until they have been convicted.
As Donnie and Jorge watched state police dust the car for fingerprints, an officer pulled the American aside to say he had a bad feeling about Jorge.
Donnie shrugged it off, as he did the other things people said about Jorge: that O'Neil had recently fired him from the cafe; that he'd been banned from O'Neil's house for throwing wild parties while the American was away.
Carlos Felton told Donnie he'd spoken that morning to the governor, who had made it clear he wanted the case quickly solved.
“A lot of these guys were very afraid that this would affect their tourism, would affect the cruise ships,” Donnie later recalled. “We told Jorge a family member has to sign off on the investigation.” The next day, when Donnie returned to talk to Flores, the prosecutor barred Jorge from entering the room. Jorge must have been trying to reach the kidnappers to negotiate O'Neil's release, he thought.
Drug violence in the surrounding state of Sinaloa had crept into Mazatlan. Without you we would be nowhere right now.” Twenty hours later, Donnie, an energetic 62-year-old who founded a trio of natural food groceries, stepped off a plane and headed to meet Jorge at the Hotel Punta Pacifico, a remote resort north of the city.