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. thinker

    I like Mexicos policy on crossing THIER border. As a matter of fact, I like it so much, we should adopt it. Lets see, how would that work? We do like they do. You cross the border, you get a bullet in the back of the head and we take your jet ski, or boat or car or what ever. Cheap, quick, no legal mess, and its a great deterant, and your own government doesnt care and wont even look for you.

    October 4, 2010 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
  2. IndepinFL

    Mexicans shooting & killing Americans – no big deal. We try to arrest and deport and you get investigated, and or sued by OUR Government DOJ with OUR President OK with this. I personally would not believe a single word uttered by anyone in this administration. WAKE UP VOTERS it is time to take back AMERICA for AMERICAN citizens.

    October 4, 2010 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
  3. DSolomon

    Wonder whose side our "Justice" Dept. will take?

    October 4, 2010 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
  4. bailoutsos

    A water border is just as dangerous as a land border. Don't Americans understand that?

    October 4, 2010 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
  5. thinker

    this is not an immigration issue, its and invasion issue. No other country in the world would allow another country to behave this way along it border. We should treat it like what it is, an INVASION. We dont have to shoot all of them, just the first few. The others would get the message and go back home. It doesnt take a smart person to see people getting shot and turn around and go back home. Besides, it would be good for Mexico too. It seem that all of the smart, hard working Mexicans are comming here. If we shut the border down, they would all have to stay in Mexico and make thier own country better with a grass roots movement, much like America had in 1776.

    October 4, 2010 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  6. thinker

    once again, CNN is filtering post from real people. with real view points

    October 4, 2010 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  7. thinker

    you have to search back in the post if you want to see all of the comments, cnn will put current post that they dont "like", further back in the line. Its a way to keep people from reading them and still claiming to not "filter" posts.

    October 4, 2010 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  8. jamez

    These LOCAL FOLKS were aware that they were in illegal waters. They visited the sunken town where the church sits half floode along with other buildings. There are signs at the marinas warning boaters not to cross over past the border markers. Seems the NEWS leaves out the important parts to make the story one sided. It would be easy to eradicate the problem one nite. MEXICANS ARE DUMB.

    October 4, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Kenneth Close

    Watch it that lion may attack you: But he is my friend I live with the Lions: Ops help my Lion just attacked me but it wasn't his fault!

    October 4, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  10. D. Blondin

    I noticed that on the report about David and Tiffany Hartley and the pirates on Lake Falcon that there is a picture of a large "buoy" looking thing that the reporter says is at the edge of the lake there. In reality it says "Southernmost point of the US...Key West, FL." This may be a good picture of the Hartley's, but please stop referring to the object as being on the Lake across from Mexico. It is in fact in Key West, FL.

    October 4, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jaime

    Today you reported on the Texas Lake Falcon jet ski rider who got shot. The story says they were going to get a picture and some location – then you show a picture of the Key West, Fl "90 Mikes to Cuba" marker. Has the marker been moved to Mexico or Texas?

    October 4, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. austin

    Mexico is LUCKY that America doesn't shoot everyone of them that barely crosses the border. Now that Mexico is ruled by drug cartels, you can't really blame their government for his murder because the cartels hold the power. It's a shame that this kind of violence continues to go on less in our neighboring country.

    October 4, 2010 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Brandy

    Obama snubbed Rick Perry because obama is too f'n scared to confront the problem we have on the boarder and the states the line it. He is chicken s**t. It is easier to turn your nose and have a "beer date" than it is to solve a problem. Build tha damn wall and close the borders. They have no business in our country. They come her to change our ways to fit a country they came from so why come! CLOSE the borders send illegals back, change our signs back to English and TAKE AMERICA BACK PEOPLE! This is our country and WE let them take over! Who's bright idea was it to accomidate the Mexicans by FORCING Americans to learn Spanish? If I moved to Mexico do you think they would accomidate me? How about Russia? Or Germany? Hell no they wouldn't. And if we accomidate one we must accomidate all. So stop wasting out tax dollars on these people and build the wall! The money America would save in health care, housing, welfare, translation efforts and most of all the money it would take to house the mexican criminals we would have more than enough money to build that DAMN WALL! But no... OBAMA IS TOO SCARED THESE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO ELECTED HIM AP GE MUST KEEP THEM HERE FOR AT LEAST ANOTHER TERM!!!!!!!!!!

    October 4, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      I agree. We should not have to learn any foreign language to accommodate immigrants. But I think Americans like yourself should learn to write or type correct english.

      October 4, 2010 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Just_Sayn

      This issue w/allowing Mexican immigrants into the US has been going on for years as well as the issue of Mexican cartel & drug trafficking–no need to bash Obama. Instead, you should focus on learning how to spell before placing commentary on a website. Or is that also Obama's fault? You should actually try your hand at Spanish–it's a language in which the words are generally spelled out the way they sound (since that appears to be what you're doing with the English language). You're an embarrassment to the US.

      October 25, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rose

    I LIVE on the border, north of Zapata. I work for a law enforcement agency, and people are always calling asking US if its safe to go to Mexico. NO IT IS NOT. No matter what our idiot mayors say- It is NOT safe.
    There is absolutely no reason to go to Mexico, anything that you may be interested in buying, can be found in the border towns on the US side! Food? Same thing! We have everything they have, except the soldiers tiding on the backs of pick-ups with automatic weapons.
    I have actually told people, "I live here, and I have not gone to Mexico in 4 years".

    What happened was tragic, but they put themselves in danger. Just like people that call 911 (from Mexico, while they are being held at gunpoint) - " You are in ANOTHER country, there is noting we can do - we will NOT send our officers into Mexico! " (But we'll take your info in case you get dead.)

    October 4, 2010 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Al

    Ummmm......lets see how long it takes for the truth to come to light on this story. Anybody feeling me on this!!! Come on, this sounds like another "kid in the balloon"; "someone threw acid in my face"; etc, etc.... I will give it 72 hours at most...

    October 4, 2010 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      I am with you on this one, I saw the wife on the news this morning and she did not shed one tear! (tried real hard though) Something is not right with this story. She said that her husband was shot in the forehead, the news articles keep saying he was shot in the back of the head. Hmmm

      October 5, 2010 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
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