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Victim's wife: Kidnappers' silence 'very cruel'

  • Story Highlights
  • Lourdes Batista says of perplexing motive, "This is why I can't sleep at night"
  • Felix Batista was kidnapped December 10 outside a restaurant in Saltillo, Mexico
  • Felix Batista is skilled crisis responder who helped families of kidnapping victims
  • Violence, kidnappings plague Mexico; many abductions go unreported
  • Next Article in Crime »
By Eliott C. McLaughlin
CNN
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(CNN) -- Lourdes Batista wishes she had super powers so she could use them to find her husband, she said Wednesday, 105 days after authorities said he was kidnapped in Mexico.

Lourdes Batista says she has no idea why someone would kidnap her husband, Felix.

Lourdes Batista says she has no idea why someone would kidnap her husband, Felix.

Felix Batista, a renowned kidnapping consultant, disappeared after getting into a vehicle outside a Saltillo restaurant December 10. The family has yet to hear a word from his abductors.

"I don't have words to describe the pain," Lourdes Batista said. "It's cruel, very cruel."

Lourdes Batista was getting ready for bed at her Miami, Florida, home when she received a phone call informing her that her husband of 31 years had been snatched. She tried contacting him on both of his phones, but to no avail.

Felix Batista, 53, had arrived four days prior in Saltillo, the Coahuila state capital about 250 miles from the U.S. border, to take part in a security seminar about kidnappings. He was giving talks about kidnappings to a business group in Saltillo and Torreon.

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Though the Cuban-American worked as a contract consultant for the Houston, Texas-based ASI Global Response, the trip was not affiliated with the company.

On the day of his kidnapping, Felix Batista was in a restaurant with several other people when he received a phone call, according to a statement from the Coahuila state attorney general's office.

"After speaking for a few minutes, [he] left the restaurant, telling his colleagues that several people in a white pickup truck were going to give him a message," the statement said.

"Afterward, outside the business, at about 7 p.m., he got into a vehicle with different characteristics from those he had mentioned to his colleagues and, since then, no one has had any communication with him," the statement said.

There was no indication of violence at the scene, the attorney general's office said.

Jackie Batista said she has no clue why someone would abduct her brother.

"We can speculate till next year," she said. "We've waited for answers. We don't have any information, and no one has contacted us."

Lourdes Batista added, "It's very perplexing. I don't know. I don't understand why. This is why I can't sleep at night." Video Watch Felix Batista's wife, sister plead for his release »

Felix Batista served four years in the U.S. Army before entering private practice. He has 23 years of experience as a crisis responder and had worked with ASI Global Response since May 2007, President Charlie LeBlanc said.

A profile on the company's Web site, which has been taken down, said Felix Batista conducted threat assessments and had been credited with the "successful resolution" of almost 100 kidnap-and-ransom cases.

LeBlanc said Felix Batista was a "multidisciplined security practitioner" who also worked on extortion cases and consulted corporations.

His aptitude as a consultant aside, Lourdes Batista said, he was an outstanding family man: "a great man and a great father and a wonderful husband. I couldn't ask for better."

Since Felix Batista's kidnapping, ASI Global has been working with his family, acting as a liaison with the FBI and Mexican authorities and vetting those offering to help with the case, LeBlanc said.

It's the same kind of work Felix Batista was known for, he said.

ASI Global has been sharing information with the Mexican national police, who have "been very forthcoming in sharing information and asking for advice," LeBlanc said.

"We've had viable leads. They just haven't panned out," he added.

Kidnappings and violence have long been problems in Mexico, but the problem has spiked in the past year, at least statistically.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon said this month that there were 6,500 organized-crime killings in 2008, more than double the number from 2007. The nation's human rights ombudsman has reported that there were 5,140 reported kidnappings between 2001 and 2008.

Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora's office reported that there were 326 kidnappings in the first five months of 2008 alone.

"Many cases continued, however, to go unreported, as families negotiated directly with kidnappers. The number of reported cases to authorities was believed to be far less than the actual number of kidnappings," said a statement from Mora's office.

Lourdes Batista said the level of violence in Mexico troubles her.

"The Mexican citizens, how do they live like this every day of their lives? It's beyond me," she said. "I fear for them and fear for their loved ones."

Lourdes Batista said there have been no threats against her or against her five children with Felix, who range in age from 16 to 28, but she still lives anxiously.

"I do live in fear, but mostly for Felix and for the families that are going through what I'm going through," Lourdes Batista said, adding that the kidnappers' silence has left her feeling impotent.

Last week, exactly 100 days after his kidnapping, the Batistas submitted a letter to three newspapers in Monterrey, about 30 miles east of Saltillo. The letter, addressed to "the Mexican people," sought any leads or information in the case and offered a financial reward for information yielding Felix Batista's safe return.

In short, it stated, "we want Felix back," Jackie Batista said.

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Lourdes Batista said she is willing to add a caveat to the family's plea.

"I am not one to persecute, and I don't want to know. I just want my husband back. We need him here," she said.

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