(NUEVO CIUDAD GUERRERO, Mexico) — Skeletal remains found in a lake on the Texas-Mexico border are being tested to see if they belong to the American was allegedly shot by Mexican drug cartel members there last year.
The widow of David Hartley, Tiffany Hartley, told police the couple was jet skiing on Falcon Lake at the Texas-Mexico border when they were attacked by Mexican pirates. David Hartley was shot in the head.
The remains were found 15 miles from where Hartley disappeared by professional fisherman Alton Jones, who was fishing on the Mexican side of the lake. They are now in the custody of the Mexican government, according to police.
Jones posted on his Facebook page, “The fishing on Falcon was great. But unfortunately, our fun was over shadowed when we found a dead body on the Mexican side of the lake. We contacted the border patrol and they are notifying the Mexican authorities with the details. The body apparently had been there for a long time, because all that was left was the skeleton.”
The Zapata County Sheriff’s Department told ABC News the feet of the remains were tied together, but cautioned that because of the drought and the drug running activities on Falcon Lake, many bodies have turned up so it’s too early to speculate that this could be David Hartley.
DNA test results will determine if the remains belong to Hartley.
Tiffany Hartley said she is hoping for confirmation that the remains are indeed her late husband, according to The Coloradoan.
“I instantly, of course, am thinking of David and that this is going to be him. We’ve been praying for this for 15 months now and we’re just hoping that this is going to be our end-of-the-year miracle. It might not be him and we know that, too,” she told The Coloradoan.
Hartley said last year that she tried as hard as she could to pull her husband onto her own Jet Ski to take him to safety, “but he’s a lot bigger than me.”
“You can’t imagine how awful it was not being able to help him,” she said.
Only days later, the lead Mexican investigator on the case, Rolando Flores, was found decapitated.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio
Lorenzo D'Agostino and Hilary Clarke, CNN
Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
Ben Westcott, CNN
Kareem Khadder, CNN