What we’re reading: Biden administration sues to block JetBlue merger, two kidnapped Americans found dead in Mexico and more



Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks during a news conference, Tuesday, March 7, 2023, in Washington. The Biden administration sued on Tuesday to block JetBlue Airways’ $3.8 billion purchase of Spirit Airlines, saying the deal would reduce competition and drive up air fares for consumers. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

By Mason Gillingwater

A decades-long search to identify a small-town Massachusetts woman has ended

After four decades, the body of a woman who went missing in 1978 was finally identified as Patricia Ann Tucker.

Known as the “Granby Girl,” Tucker’s body was found in a wooded area located in Granby, Massachusetts on November 15, 1978. An autopsy of Tucker’s skeletal remains revealed her cause of death was a bullet wound to the left temple, said First Assistant District Attorney Steven Gagne. Her identity was never revealed as the years-long exposure of her remains to nature’s elements made it nearly impossible to identify her.

Years later, in March 2022, a biological sample of Tucker’s remains was sent to a forensic laboratory in Texas that has been credited with solving many cold cases, Gagne said.

On Jan. 23, 2023, Gange said that the lab told investigators they had found a relative to Tucker living in Maryland that could possibly be her half-sister.

“Investigators spoke with the woman on January 30 and found she had an aunt, who was a mother of two sons, who went missing in the 1970s,” Gagne said.

Authorities located one of the sons after he had uploaded DNA to ancestry.com, which would later prove Tucker was his mother, CNN said.

Tucker’s son, Matthew Dale, released a statement saying, “At least I have some answers now after 44 years,” he said. “It’s a lot to process, but hopefully, the closure can begin now.”

After identifying Tucker, investigators are now shifting their attention to finding her killer.

Uber makes finding your ride at the airport easier

Uber has added step-by-step instructions for passengers to find the exact location of their ride at the airport, CNN said.

These new instructions include photos of what you should see as you navigate through the airport to the correct gate. This update, which is available at over 30 airports worldwide, also aims to decrease the ride-share traffic at airports and decrease the time the driver waits at the curb.

Some airports included in Uber’s new updated instructions are LAX, JFK, San Francisco International Airport, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and Miami International Airport, CNN said. 

Jen You, the head of product for rides at Uber, told CNN that “Our new series of products and features will help you plan for your upcoming trips and make your airport travel smoother than ever.”

Uber also plans to include features in the future that include a walking time estimate for riders to plan how long it will take after getting their luggage from baggage claim and connect with their driver once their plane lands, expanding its reservations by allowing riders to book a ride up to 90 days in advance.

Two kidnapped Americans found dead in Mexico, two others found alive

Two Americans abducted amidst a cartel shootout have been found dead, and two of the other kidnapped Americans are alive.

On Sunday, the FBI reported that the Mexican authorities were searching for the missing U.S. citizens.

Mexican army soldiers prepare a search mission for four U.S. citizens kidnapped by gunmen in Matamoros, Mexico, Monday, March 6, 2023. (AP Photo) (AP)

One of the relatives of the missing Americans said that the group traveled from South Carolina on Friday so one of the individuals could have a procedure from a doctor located in Matamoros, where the kidnapping took place, just across the border from Brownsville, Texas, the Associated Press said.

After entering Mexico, the group of Americans was caught in the crossfire of two rival cartel groups. A video captured the Americans being ushered into the back of a truck by gunmen. The two deceased U.S. citizens were found in a rural area east of Matamoros called Ejido Longoreño, said a state authority who requested to stay anonymous.

Word of the deaths of the two Americans was delivered via phone call during a morning news conference with the President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who said the details about the four missing Americans were confirmed by prosecutors. One suspect is in custody.

“We really regret that this happens in our country,” Lopez Obrador said.

The FBI is offering a $50,000 reward for the return of the two remaining missing Americans and the arrest of the suspected kidnappers.

Biden administration sues to block JetBlue’s purchase of Spirit Airlines

The Biden administration sued to block JetBlue Airways’ $3.8 billion purchase of Spirit Airlines on Tuesday.

According to the Associated Press, the Justice Department said that the purchase of Spirit Airlines would hurt cost-conscious travelers who rely on Spirit to find cheaper flight options.

FILE – A JetBlue Airways Airbus A320, left, passes a Spirit Airlines Airbus A320 as it taxis on the runway, July 7, 2022, at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The Biden administration wants to block JetBlue from buying Spirit Airlines, saying the deal would reduce competition and hurt travelers. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File) (AP)

Jetblue and Spirit were not surprised by the backlash from the Biden Administration as the government had previously asked for additional documents and depositions regarding the purchase of Spirit Airlines. Negotiations over a possible settlement failed, said the Associated Press.

“JetBlue’s plan would eliminate the unique competition that Spirit provides — and about half of all ultra-low-cost airline seats in the industry — and leave tens of millions of travelers to face higher fares and fewer options,” said the department lawyers, according to the Associated Press.

As Jetblue became more aware of the possible retaliation from the government regarding the purchase, Jetblue CEO Robin Hayes said that companies executives created a preemptive campaign to support their claim. Hayes argued that the purchase would help consumers by creating a competitor against the four airline carriers that dominate 80% of the domestic air-travel market, said the Associated Press.

With the joining of Jetblue and Spirit, they would together only control 9% of the domestic airline market, significantly smaller than those like American, United, Delta and Southwest.