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US missionary Nancy Davis (not Davies!!) shot dead

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  • Frank van Schaik
    My heart stopped for a moment when I heard on the news that a Nancy Davis was killed in a narco shoot-out in Tamaulipas. As it happens, this Nancy Davis
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 31, 2011
      My heart stopped for a moment when I heard on the news that a Nancy
      Davis was killed in a narco shoot-out in Tamaulipas.

      As it happens, this Nancy Davis (without E) was a US missionary crossing
      drug-cartel battleground in Tamaulipas, and got very rotten luck.
      Actually, it happened last Friday.

      Here's the story:


      US missionary killed in Mexico drug no-man's land

      By KATHERINE CORCORAN, Associated Press Katherine Corcoran, Associated
      Press – Fri Jan 28, 8:19 pm ET

      MEXICO CITY – American missionaries Sam and Nancy Davis were crossing a
      drug-cartel battleground in northern Mexico when gunmen opened fire on
      their truck and mortally wounded Nancy.

      Now the search for her killers, an investigation led by authorities in
      Tamaulipas, could be mired by the same violence as investigators in
      previous high-profile cases have turned up dead in this state bordering
      Texas, where two powerful cartels are warring for drug routes.

      No law enforcement officials on either side of the border would speak
      publicly Friday about the security issue, or the fact that few crimes in
      Mexico ever get prosecuted.

      "We expect the Mexican authorities to investigate this case," said U.S.
      Embassy spokesman Alex Featherstone. "We can't speculate on what might
      happen to the investigators."

      The couple drove up to an illegal roadblock on a stretch of highway just
      south of the border city of Reynosa. When Sam Davis decided not to stop,
      gunmen opened fire and hit Nancy Davis, 59, in the head. Sam frantically
      drove his bleeding wife for help, crossing the wrong way on an
      international bridge into Texas, where she later died.

      Tamaulipas will investigate the assault on the couple and the
      discharging of the firearm, said state Attorney General spokesman Ruben
      Dario Rios Lopez. But he said the state is not investigating a murder
      because Davis died in the U.S.

      Her death Wednesday came four months after American David Hartley was
      gunned down on Falcon Reservoir bordering Texas and Tamaulipas as he and
      his wife tried fleeing on Jet Skis. Last summer's massacre of 72
      migrants also took place in Tamaulipas.

      A prosecutor and transit police officer investigating the migrant case
      both turned up dead. A state police commander looking into Hartley's
      disappearance was decapitated, his head delivered to a Mexican army post
      in a suitcase.

      Hartley's body was never found and no one has been arrested.

      "Falcon Reservoir was a different issue," Rios said. "Assistant Attorney
      General Hernan de la Garza is in charge of this investigation, and he's
      known as a very capable investigator."

      State and local law enforcement in Texas, as well as the FBI, all
      pledged to do what they could to help the Mexican investigation.

      The couple, who had been doing missionary work in Mexico for 30 years,
      was well aware of the dangers they faced and had cut back their trips
      recently as a result.

      Intense violence has plagued all of northeastern Tamaulipas state, where
      the Gulf cartel and the Zetas have been battling for lucrative drug
      routes in the United States for more than a year.

      The Mexican government in November sent more troops and federal police
      there in what it called a major operative to try to control drug violence.

      Francille Davis said her son and daughter-in-law were in Mexico
      Wednesday to pay pastors in some of the village churches the family had
      established. She said the drug war had prevented Sam from reaching the
      churches earlier in the month.

      Among their stops was the tiny hamlet of Villa Mainero, where the
      Davises had a church. Residents said the couple was well-known and
      well-loved for work they had done over decades.

      They ran a children's shelter for some time and founded several churches
      in other small settlements. Nancy worked as a nurse and midwife, gave
      Bible classes and was known as a deeply religious person who used music
      to express her faith.

      Adelaeda Martinez, now 42, grew up in the children's shelter, where her
      mother sent her so she could go to school. She said considered Nancy her
      spiritual mother.

      "My mother died a month ago and they came from the U.S. to be with us in
      a difficult time," Martinez said. "They gave everything in their lives
      to be here with us. Not everyone wants to come here because we're in the
      mountains, the road is difficult and it's not safe."

      Like most small towns in Mexico, the pueblo has a central plaza and town
      hall with a few simple convenience stores and stalls that sell tacos and
      ice cream. Few residents have telephones in their homes, said housewife
      Olga Cepeda, and many leave in search of work, often finding their way
      to cities like Monterrey or across the U.S. border.

      In a sign of the effects of Mexico's drug war, Cepeda said gunmen in
      flashy SUVs are now a common sight on the roads around the once-peaceful
      town. The highway that runs past Villa Mainero to Monterrey and north to
      the border with Texas is a notorious drug-smuggling route.

      "They loved Mexico," Cepeda said of the missionary couple. "I think,
      sadly, that caused her death."


      Associated Press Writers Linda Stewart Ball and Paul J. Weber in Texas
      and Mark Walsh in Monterrey, Mexico, contributed to this report.
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