(AP) - A Mexican police commander investigating the reported shooting of an American tourist on a border lake plagued by pirates has been decapitated and his head was found in a suitcase, a
The death of Rolando Flores, commander of state investigators in Ciudad Miguel Aleman, was a message from gangsters for investigators to "stay out of their territory," Texas Gov. Rick Perry said.
"I think their attempt is to intimidate law enforcement, no matter who they are or where they are," Perry told The Associated Press.
Cartels have used beheadings in the past to terrorize the public and send messages to Mexican law enforcement.
That part of Tamaulipas state is overrun by violence from a turf battle between the Gulf Cartel and the Zeta drug gang, made up of former Mexican special forces soldiers, and both are battling the Mexican military.
The search for Hartley's body is expected to continue, although Gonzalez said it's becoming increasingly unlikely the body will be found.
Perry said investigators shouldn't back off because of threats such as
"The worst thing we can do is let the terrorists dictate the terms of how we're going to live."
Instead, he said, the threat should be handled by increasing "the numbers of law enforcement and military."
Ruben Rios, a spokesman for the Tamaulipas state prosecutor's office, said authorities "don't know how or why he was killed. We don't have any details on how he died."
But Gonzalez said later Tuesday that "reliable sources within the law enforcement community of
Hartley's wife, Tiffany, said she and her husband were returning to the
Dennis Hartley, David Hartley's father, expressed shock and regret at
"I just, I'm in shock about this right now," he said from his
The Mexican Foreign Ministry says it has been using federal, state and local resources, including the military and helicopters, to search for Hartley's body and opened an investigation. Over the weekend, authorities named two possible suspects.
However, Rios on Tuesday said no suspects have been identified and wouldn't comment on why a state investigator had already named two suspects.
On Sunday, state investigator Juan Carlos Ballesteros, who is assigned to Ciudad Miguel Aleman, said police believe brothers Juan Pedro and Jose Manuel Zaldivar Farias may have killed Hartley. Ballesteros didn't answer calls seeking comment Tuesday.
Rodriguez reported from Mexico City. Associated Press Writer P. Solomon Banda contributed to this report from Denver.