Posted on October 5, 2010

US Tourist Calls on Obama to Step Up Search for Husband’s Body in Alleged Mexican Pirate Attack

Fox News, Oct. 5, 2010

An American woman who says her husband was gunned down by Mexican pirates called on the Obama administration Tuesday to step up the search for his body, as Mexican authorities begin to question her account.

Search terms scouring the U.S. side of Falcon Lake have turned up no sign of David Michael Hartley, 30, five days after his wife said he was shot in the head by Mexican bandits marauding on the U.S.-Mexican border lake.


Hartley told a dispatcher in her 911 call that she was forced to leave her husband behind because pirates in three boats were firing shots and chasing her.

Hartley was then helped on shore by an unidentified man who reportedly witnessed the boats chasing her as she made her way back into U.S. waters.

The Texas Department of Public Safety said Friday that Hartley was believed to be killed, but nearly five days after the shooting, there was still no word whether the oil industry worker had been found.

Hartley denied any suggestions from Mexican authorities that her account was not truthful, saying, “I loved him and there’s no way I would do anything like that.”

Mexican authorities investigating the alleged shooting reportedly say they have not yet found any evidence of the crime.


Marco Antonio Guerrero Carrizales, the district attorney in Miguel Aleman whose area also covers the Mexican side of Falcon Lake, told the newspaper that they can’t figure out why neither Hartley’s watercraft or his body–investigators were told he was wearing a life vest–have been found.

Hartley has accused Mexican authorities of “not looking” for her husband’s body. She is calling on President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to pressure the Mexican government into allowing U.S. authorities to search the Mexican side of the lake.

Officials at the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) told that Hartley’s alleged death marked the fifth incident since April 30 in which U.S. residents ventured into Mexican waters and encountered pirates on the 60-miles-long Falcon Lake.

Prior to last week, the most recent occurred on Aug. 31, when authorities say pirates aboard a small boat with “Game Wardin” written on its side, in duct-tape lettering, tried to intercept a Texas fisherman. The fisherman, aware of warnings about pirates on the lake and recognizing the misspelling of the word “warden,” managed to outrun the Mexican vessel to safety, officials said.

On May 16, five armed men boarded a boat on the U.S. side of Falcon Lake. Investigators have no additional information in that incident. Only 10 days earlier, two armed men approached a boat on the lake’s northern side and demanded money, which the fisherman handed over, DPS officials say.