US missionary Nancy Davis (not Davies!!) shot dead
- 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
"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.