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Falcon Lake Shooting Update: Tiffany Hartley urges Obama admin. to find dead husband

Hartley and his wife, Tiffany, were riding personal watercraft back from Mexico on Falcon Lake around 2:45 p.m. Thursday, when approximately six gunmen approached in two boats and opened fire, said Zapata County Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez. Personal Photo

Tiffany and David Hartley
Personal Photo
(CBS/AP) DENVER - Colorado woman Tiffany Hartley is demanding that the U.S. government do more to find the body of her husband, six months after he was presumably gunned down on Falcon Lake along the Texas border with Mexico.

PICTURES: Tiffany and David Hartley

Hartley, who lives in Weld County, Colo., said nothing has been done since Mexican officials called off a search for David Hartley on Oct. 14. She held a rally with family and supporters at the Colorado Capitol on Wednesday, asking state officials to pressure the Obama administration to do more to find her husband and to secure the border.

"We don't want to leave him in the hands of the enemy," she told The Associated Press, referring to suspected pirates or drug smugglers known to roam the lake about 45 miles northwest of McAllen, Texas. "If we get his body back, we can at last honor him the way he would want to be honored, at least by his family."

Tiffany Hartley told authorities she and her husband were using personal watercraft on Falcon Lake when they were approached Sept. 30 by Mexican pirates who shot and killed her husband. The couple was returning to Texas after photographing a historic church on the Mexican side of the lake, Hartley said.

No death certificate has been issued, and Mexican officials have told her the case remains open.

PICTURES: Tiffany and David Hartley

The Mexican federal attorney general's office could not immediately provide an update on the status of the case and Zapata County, Texas, Sheriff Sigi Gonzalez, who led the investigation on the U.S. side, did not return telephone messages from the AP.

David Hartley's case is not listed on U.S. State Department records of American citizens killed in Mexico, and State Department officials did not immediately respond to inquiries about the case.

In cases such as Hartley's, it's up to families or acquaintances to file a report with local Mexican officials, which Hartley did through the Mexican consulate's office in October.

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet said he's been trying to move the case forward.

"My office has kept in close contact with the State Department on this matter, and we will continue to do so in the hope that it will help the Hartley family obtain the answers they desperately deserve," the Colorado Democrat said in a statement.

PICTURES: Tiffany and David Hartley

A former bull rider and raiser of prize steers while growing up in Colorado, 30-year-old David Hartley worked as a district manager for an oil and gas drilling company and lived in Reynosa, Mexico with his wife until moving to McAllen, Texas, shortly before he disappeared.

A report by Stratfor, an Austin, Texas-based public policy research group that tracks the drug war, suggests that Mexican license plates on the truck holding the Hartleys' Jet Skis may have led to a case of mistaken identity.

Falcon Lake, a dammed section of the Rio Grande, has been plagued by pirates who rob boaters and fishermen in Mexican waters, and Texas officials warn recreationists to avoid the lake. Hartley's death would be the first confirmed killing there.

U.S. consulate officials have said there's no reason to doubt Tiffany Hartley's story.

Complete coverage of the Falcon Lake shooting on Crimesider

  • Barry Leibowitz

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