October 2nd, 2010
12:50 PM ET

Sheriff: Body of American shot by Mexico pirates still missing

Days after an American man was fatally shot by pirates on a lake that straddles the U.S.-Mexico border, his body still has not been found, a sheriff told CNN on Saturday.

Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez Jr. of Zapata County, Texas, said U.S. authorities have not made much progress because the incident happened on the Mexican side of Lake Falcon.

“The body was not recovered” by U.S. authorities and is presumably still in the lake, Gonzalez said.

“We’ve been in touch with Mexico authorities but they say they don’t know anything about a body,” Gonzalez said.

Texas Rangers and Texas Parks and Wildlife reconnaissance teams have joined local and state authorities in searching for the body, according to CNN affiliate KSAT in San Antonio, Texas.

The man believed to be fatally shot is David Hartley, 30, according to KSAT. His wife, Tiffany, tried to rescue him but had to flee under fire, KSAT reported.

Tiffany Hartley told law enforcement authorities that the couple were riding personal watercraft in the lake Thursday afternoon when four boats of gunmen approached them and started shooting, according to CNN affiliate KGNS in Laredo, Texas.

"This  couple ventured into these waters deep into Mexico," Gonzalez said. "This gentleman was hit in the back of the head with a bullet.

"The woman was able to escape them," Gonzalez said, by "accelerating as fast as she could." He said the lake is safe on the American side, “just don’t cross into Mexico."

The part of the lake where the incident occurred is technically in the municipality of Guerrero, a city in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, Gonzalez said. The state has made headlines recently as a hotbed for drug cartel violence.

Gonzalez said that while nothing about the suspects is known, he strongly believes they are pirates linked to drug cartels across the border.

“We have no suspects. None. But the descriptions [of the suspects] would be drug cartel members or the gofers of the drug cartels,” he said.

Gonzalez said this is not the first time there has been trouble on the lake.

“We had some problems in April and May,” he said. “It’s a very, very popular lake for bass-fishing, and what was happening was some people were being robbed.” But this is the first time the incidents have been fatal, he said.

Zapatas County, Texas, is about 50 miles from the Mexican border.

Gonzalez, who was born and raised in Texas, said, "People in this country who don’t live around the border don’t know what’s really going on here."

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Filed under: Crime • Drug violence • Mexico • Pirates • Texas
soundoff (198 Responses)
  1. tomcat

    Why dis Mexicans? If it werent for them here in the US who would build your houses? Clean them? Cut your lawn or watch your kids? Ask Whitman in Cali it didnt seem to bother her

    October 3, 2010 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |
  2. tomcat

    I dont think the wife is telling us the truth

    October 3, 2010 at 2:56 am | Report abuse |
  3. tomcat

    i bet she wears an eye patch and has a parrot on her shoulder

    October 3, 2010 at 3:01 am | Report abuse |
  4. tomcat

    wait.....his body missing? what about the watercraft he was on? this story is more messed up than a can of worms

    October 3, 2010 at 4:22 am | Report abuse |
  5. kris

    ive benn on the frontline of americas war on drugs for over 12yrs & numbaoneballa has it right-americans r ALWAYS gonna want drugs-period. so the best we can do is educate our youth better(&not lie2them) ie by showing them the real consequences like the mugshot progression of a meth addict who starts out beautiful&in 5yrs looks 70yrs old. &instead of jail-rehab&community service. but u gotta make 'em legal-1, cuz it didnt work when the govt tried2outlaw alcohol, americans still used&it just created violent&powerful cartels as a much more dangerous way4americans2get their fix. 2, there r countries in europe that have decriminalized drugs&not only did those countries not fall apart-they actually have a MUCH lower rate of drug use than we do. if we take all the $ we spend fighting the war on drugs&put it in2education, it would make such a difference yr head would spin, sense in my experience, education is the best way2fight the danger of drug addiction.

    October 3, 2010 at 5:20 am | Report abuse |
  6. brianncns

    Why would you risk going anywhere these days. People are chancing way too much. Mexico is corrupt. They have alot of issues and the american border patrol is a joke. I think that any recreation destination within 20 miles of the border need to be off l imits and patroled. If you travel, you had better have your life insurance policy in place. If your captured, you might want to have a suicide pill just incase they try to make an example out of you. I am sure the frustrated drug cartels will

    October 3, 2010 at 8:01 am | Report abuse |
  7. Stella

    The wife did it.

    October 3, 2010 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
    • mexicanamerican

      Yes, Stella I think wife did it and blame it on someone else. And of course blame it on Mexicans its better that way. Your very wrong and should tell the truth. And they wont just shot him they would hurt you to?? Get your story together with the police and tell them the truth...

      October 3, 2010 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  8. skian

    A map would have been nice for this story.

    October 3, 2010 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  9. Paris Hilton

    Don't really poor people go on that lake? Isn't it real muddy and gross?

    October 3, 2010 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  10. MassiveMarbles

    If the lake is on the American border, why is the coast guard not 'right there' protecting the American side?

    October 3, 2010 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  11. pancho villa

    One American dies n a person name WHATNOW wants to nuke n entire country wow CNN U LET DIS KIND OF REMARKS NOW I SEE WHY MORE DEN HALF D WORLD HATES U.......

    October 3, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Shelly

    I wonder if my exhusband would like to go jet skiing with me in Texas...at least this time they're not blaming it on a black person.

    October 3, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mark5

    Send another remotely controlled personal watercraft in packed with explosives , driven by a mannequin and when the pirates attack again, let them get close and then detonate.

    October 3, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. lindy235

    wonder if this is the same dumb_$_HIT woman who was just released after being nabbed while hiking on the iran border with her boyfriend?
    =============
    No it's not..now what?

    October 3, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  15. anonymoustoday

    Guys, the husband was never at the lake. His body is somewhere the wife and her boyfriend stashed it before they put on a show of the guy being missing. there's been no mention of a boyfriend yet, I know, but there will be soon. When the life insurance claim is made, hopefully law enforcement won't let this one get away. It's like the ubiquitous "black man" in the Susan Smith case or the "black woman" in the acid-splasher. The wife has simply chosen the most disliked group in her particular demographic area. This is going to end up on Forensic Files for sure.

    October 3, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
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