FBI believes an American woman kidnapped in Mexico while walking her dog last year is still alive and is offering a $40,000 reward for help finding her

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The FBI on Thursday alerted the public about a "broad threat" against Jewish houses of worship in New Jersey.Charlie Neibergall/AP
  • The FBI is offering $40,000 for information about the kidnapping of a California woman in Mexico

  • Monica de Leon Barba was abducted while walking her dog in the country last November.

  • This comes amid a recent rash of kidnappings of Americans in the country.

Federal authorities said earlier this week they believe a 29-year-old American woman who was kidnapped last year in Mexico while walking her dog is still alive and posted a $40,000 reward to help locate her.

The FBI's San Francisco field office said the woman, identified as Monica de Leon Barba, was kidnapped while walking her dog last November in Tepatitlán, Jalisco, Mexico, according to a statement released on Thursday.

The family said she was on her way to the gym when the incident happened, CBS News reported.

In a statement to NBC News, a spokesperson for the agency said that officials "believe that Monica is alive," adding that her dog was recovered by her family. The FBI is asking the public for any information related to De Leon Barba's whereabouts.

Per the agency, De Leon Barba is 5 feet 7 inches tall, about 240 pounds, and has brown eyes and hair. She was born in Jalisco, but is a US citizen from California, according to officials and reports.

De Leon Barba's disappearance comes amid recently reported kidnappings of Americans in Mexico. Earlier this month, a group of US citizens, who family members said traveled to the country for one to get cosmetic surgery, was abducted in Matamoros by the cartel after crossing the border, Business Insider previously reported.  The FBI stepped in and offered a $50,000 reward for their swift return. Two were found dead while the surviving two were transported back to the states.

Additionally, the FBI's Los Angeles field office also recently announced that it is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to information about 63-year-old Maria del Carmen Lopez, a US citizen who lived in the country and was kidnapped in February from her home in Pueblo Nuevo, Mexico, Insider reported.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert Tripp, of the San Francisco office, told KTVU that "hostage takers have been in contact" with De Leon Barba's loved ones and that "the FBI is working very close with her family and with authorities in Mexico to bring her home safely."

Read the original article on Insider