Perry chides US govt over Falcon Lake incident

AP News
|
Posted: Oct 11, 2010 4:59 PM
Perry chides US govt over Falcon Lake incident

Gov. Rick Perry said Monday he's disheartened that the wife of a missing American who was reported shot by pirates on a Texas-Mexico border lake hasn't heard from U.S. federal officials.

Perry said he spoke with Tiffany Hartley on Monday morning about the search for her husband. David Hartley has not been seen since Sept. 30, when she says pirates on Falcon Lake opened fire on them from speedboats while they were returning from Mexico to the United States on Jet Skis. Her husband was shot in the head and she managed to flee, under fire, to the Texas side of the lake formed from a dammed section of the Rio Grande.

"She's very frustrated and appropriately so. She's not heard one word from the United States federal government. She's not had a call from Secretary of State (Hillary) Clinton, she's not heard from the administration. And I find that really disheartening," Perry told reporters after speaking to an economic development summit.

A White House spokesman did not immediately respond to Perry's criticism when contacted by The Associated Press.

Bob Young, Tiffany Hartley's father, said his daughter believes the federal government could be doing more.

"She doesn't really expect President Obama or Clinton to give her a personal call, but she's wondering why the federal government isn't doing more," he said from his home in La Salle, Colo. "They could be putting pressure on Mexico to bring this matter to a close because they know the right people. ... We're hoping that they would take an interest in it."

Perry said he hasn't gotten a call from Mexican President Felipe Calderon, as he requested last week, but he said their two offices are communicating. The Mexican government, in response to Perry's request, stepped up its search for Hartley's body and has named two men they are seeking in connection with the case.

Perry said Monday he could not provide any updates on the search for David Hartley or the investigation, including word over the weekend that Mexican authorities were searching for two Mexican brothers as potential suspects.

"Both of our federal governments need to do more to get to the bottom of this issue," he said.

Tamaulipas State Police unit chief Juan Carlos Ballesteros said Mexican investigators believe brothers Juan Pedro and Jose Manuel Zaldivar Farias may have killed Hartley as he took photos of a sunken church at the lake. The brothers already were sought for allegedly being in a gang of pirates that operates on Falcon Lake and for terrorizing a Mexican town at the south end of the lake.

Perry said once again that the Hartley incident points to the need for heightened border security by the U.S. federal government.

"The American people have had it up to here with their lack of understanding and their lack of action securing that border, where citizens of both sides can know that they are living in a country where they're going to be safe," he said.

___

Associated Press Writer P. Solomon Banda contributed to this report from Denver.