Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) is getting involved in the case of a man reportedly killed by “lake pirates” while jet skiing on a body of water that straddles the Mexico-Texas border. Perry told the Associated Press that he has asked Mexican President Felipe Calderon to call him within 48 hours to discuss the search for David Hartley. Perry said if Hartley is not located by then, “we’re not looking hard enough.”
Tiffany Hartley says that she and her husband were jet skiing and taking pictures on the Mexican side of the lake last Thursday, when they were attacked by people in three boats. David was reportedly shot in the head, and Tiffany, unable to lift his body onto her jet ski, fled for her safety. Neither David nor his jet ski have been located. Hartley’s family has been vocally calling on the governments of both Mexico and the U.S. to step up their efforts. The incident happened in Mexican waters, and the local sheriff has declined an invitation to assist in the search “because it’s dangerous.”
According to the AP, the Mexican Foreign Relations Ministry released a statement that the country “is committed to the investigation of those acts.”
Meanwhile, appearing on Fox and Friends this morning, Perry put part of the responsibility for this incident on the federal government’s shoulders.
“This is a tragedy,” Perry said. “It is a result of many years of disregard for the people along that border, and the security of the border. We’ve been telling this administration, and administrations before, for years, that there is not enough support, there’s not enough boots on the ground, there’s not enough technology in place — aviation assets — to protect the citizens of the United States — and Mexico for that matter. And now we’re beginning to see concrete evidence of that failure to secure the border, when American citizens, innocent American citizen, who was down there strictly on a historical trip to take a picture of the old church at Guerrero, is murdered on Lake Falcon.”
Perry had harsh words for reports that the Mexican government had raised doubt about Tiffany Hartley’s story.
“That’s not what I heard from [Mexico’s] acting foreign secretary last night,” Perry said. “And I think it’s reprehensible. Anyone who says anything other than this was pirates or just criminal element out on that lake that killed an innocent American — there is nothing there. We’ve asked all the right questions. Our sheriff has asked the right questions. Anyone who is trying to deflect off of what this actually is aught to be ashamed of themselves.”
Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com