Mexican Investigator Was Beheaded to Intimidate Cops
Tamaulipas state prosecutor's office spokesman Ruben Rios said that Commander Rolando Flores, the head of state investigators in the border city of Ciudad Miguel Aleman, was killed. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
New York Daily News via YellowBrix
October 13, 2010
The lead Mexican investigator working to solve the case of an American allegedly attacked by pirates has been killed, and sources say he was brutally decapitated.
Rolando Flores was the commander of a team of police investigating the disappearance and reported shooting of David Hartley on a Mexican border lake last month.
Ruben Dario-Rios, spokesman for the state prosecutor’s office in the area, confirmed his death, telling The Associated Press that authorities “don’t know how or why he was killed,” and that they “don’t have any details on how died.”
Flores’ headless body was left in a suitcase in front of a Mexican military compound on Tuesday, Texas Rep. Aaron Peña told CNN.
The investigator had been out searching the Falcon Lake area for clues to Hartley’s disappearance on Monday, but never made it home.
“Shortly afterward, they found his head in the suitcase,” Lesley Lopez, press secretary for U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Tex), told CNN.
Lopez said Cuellar’s brother, Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar, was her source.
Hartley, 30, was reportedly shot while jet skiing with his wife Tiffany on Falcon Lake, which straddles the Mexico-Texas border.
Tiffany has said pirates appeared, attacked her husband, and continued to shoot as she fled to safety.
David Hartley’s body still has not been found.
Since the incident technically happened in Mexican waters, the U.S. has no jurisdiction over the case and Mexican authorities are handling the investigation.
U.S. officials called on Mexico to push harder on the case last week, and authorities had reportedly named two suspects in the case over the weekend.
But Rios denied knowledge of any suspects on Monday, saying, “We have nothing official about suspects in the disappearance of David Hartley. I do not know where that is coming from.”
Cuellar has called the area where the Hartleys were reportedly attacked a “hornet’s nest” for the Zetas drug cartel.
David Hartley’s father Dennis was deeply saddened by the news of Flores’ death on Tuesday.
“I just, I’m in shock about this right now,” he told the AP. “I really don’t have any hope that David will be found. I really hate other people putting their lives at stake. We don’t need more sons lost. If this is true, I’m just really heartbroken that this happened.”