Looking for People and Answers
In every film about a kidnapping or disappearance, there is a ubiquitous scene in which a family crowds around a phone, waiting for a call from the criminals to shatter the silence. But for many people in the Rio Grande Valley, and the United States, that silence — that hideous tension — remains unbroken.
The disappearance of U.S. Marine veteran Armando Torres III made national headlines last week, when he was reportedly kidnapped by gunmen on a Tamaulipas ranch near the Free Trade Bridge at Los Indios.
The San Benito native is 25 years old, and according to his family, he was visiting his father and uncle before he planned to move to the state of Virginia.
Mexican officials have launched a criminal investigation but have expressed their doubts about finding Torres or his father and uncle alive. The FBI has opened a concurrent international kidnapping investigation of its own.
U.S. officials have stepped up their pressure to intensify the search.
On Monday, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson met with Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto in Mexico City. Peña Nieto was “sincere in saying he’d help” find answers in the Torres case, Richardson tweeted on Wednesday.
And on June 7, U.S. Reps. Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, and Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville, were joined by 10 other representatives urging Secretary of State John Kerry to “devote the maximum amount of resources” to find answers for the Torres family.
“Armando served his country honorably and he deserves the U.S. government’s full attention and involvement in this urgent matter,” Hinojosa said in a statement. “We must send a message to the kidnappers that the United States of America will do everything it can to save this patriotic Marine.”
But the situation begs a question: Why did this case receive national attention, compared with thousands of disappearances that happen in Mexico each year?