Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Falcon Lake Investigator Decapitated, Head Delivered to Mexican Army Base
The severed head of a Mexican investigator involved in the Falcon Reservoir case was delivered in a suitcase to the Mexican army today, according to Mexican authorities.
Ruben Dario Rios Lopez, spokesman for the Tamaulipas Attorney General's Office, confirmed that Rolando Armando Flores Villegas, the state police commandant heading the Mexican investigation into the disappearance of David Michael Hartley, was killed today.
A representive of Mexico's 8th Military Zone — which spans the entire state of Tamaulipas and is based in Reynosa — said Flores' head was delivered to an army post in Miguel Aleman.
Hartley, 30, of McAllen, is widely believed dead after what his wife, Tiffany Young-Hartley, has described as an attack by cartel "pirates" on the Mexican side of the binational waterway.
She has said three boats of gunmen opened fire on them as they were riding personal watercraft, fatally shooting her husband in the head.
In a media blitz that has brought widespread attention to the case, Young-Hartley, 29, has appeared on all the major TV networks and cable news outlets over the past week, presenting a harrowing account of being forced to flee for her life to the U.S. shore of the lake after she tried in vain to get her husband’s limp body onto her SeaDoo watercraft.
Skepticism about that account has also been widespread, however, after Mexican officials last week questioned her version of events, saying they had found no evidence of the purported attack or his remains.
Rios did not have any details about Flores' death but assured that it had nothing to do with the Hartley probe. The spokesman offered no basis for that assurance, however, and said Mexican officials need Young-Hartley to meet with them and file a complaint in the city of Miguel Aleman.
On Monday, Tamaulipas state officials continued to deny U.S. and Mexican news reports over the weekend that a Tamaulipas official — one of Flores' subordinates — had identified two brothers as the men responsible for Hartley’s death.
The Associated Press reported that Tamaulipas State Police unit chief Juan Carlos Ballesteros said investigators believe brothers Juan Pedro and Jose Manuel Saldivar Farias may have killed Hartley as he snapped photos of a partiall submerged church from his personal watercraft at Old Guerrero.
The officer told AP that the brothers were already being sought for allegedly belonging to a gang of pirates operating on Falcon Lake. Ballesteros also said they allegedly terrorized a Mexican town at the south end of the lake, but he gave no details of the investigation.