In November 2007, Chris and Debra Hall, along with their children, Tyler and Divinia, were driving back to California from Mexico, when they saw police lights gaining on them. When the family pulled over, a man in a police uniform approached and suddenly put a gun to Chris' head. Drug gangs in Mexico are known to steal police uniforms as a way to trap their victims and moments later the family was ambushed by a second car of gunmen. They were only a few miles from the U.S. border.
Now the Hall family recounts their terrifying brush with death in "Live to Tell: Kidnap on Highway 1," to be broadcast on Saturday, Jan. 2 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
As the kidnappers drove them onto a dirt road in the mountains outside Tijuana, they began asking about a race car. While in Mexico, Chris and Tyler worked as part of a pit crew at the Baja 1000. But when Chris explained that there was no race car, the men ransacked the family's trailer and then took them further into the dark mountains. The gunmen put the family in a ditch and threw sleeping bags over them.
"At that point I thought this was it. Execution style to the back of the head, all of us laying here. We were gonna die," says Divinia, who had survived a school shooting six years earlier. Would luck be on her side twice?
Suddenly, as the Hall family lay hugging in the ditch, the men drove away. Ultimately the Halls crawled through the brush in the night to a house where a woman took them in and called police for help. Despite her assurances that they could trust these officers, the family could not help but fear they were in trouble all over again. But the authorities rushed them to the border. For the moment they were safe, but with the gunmen in possession of their drivers' licenses - and their address - it would take time for their fears to subside, although they will carry the traumatic events of that night with them forever.