Colorado's elected government officials threw their support behind Tiffany Hartley today in a letter addressed to Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Governor Hickenlooper, Congressman Cory Gardner, U.S. Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet signed the letter after Hickenlooper met with Hartley yesterday.
The letter requests updates from the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Justice in the investigation of her husband, David Hartley's, death.
David Hartley was reportedly shot and killed on Falcon Lake bordering Mexico and Texas where he and wife Tiffany were operating personal watercraft. After crossing into Mexican waters to photograph a historic half-submerged church, Hartley claimed that a group of pirates shot her husband in the head and caused him to fall off his Jet Ski. During a 911 call, Hartley says she was unable to pull him onto her Jet Ski, and returned to shore without his body because of persuant gunfire.
He has been missing since September 30, 2010.
According to Hickenlooper spokesman Eric Brown, the meeting with Hartley lasted about half an hour.
Brown told HuffPost:
She had come to the Capitol at the end of March to kind of keep awareness, I think, about her case in the news and she also asked to meet with [Governor Hickenlooper] and so coming together with Senator Mark Udall, Michael Bennet and Congressman Garnder we told her we would send a letter to the Department of Justice to exert whatever kind of pressure we can.
Hartley had publicly stated that she didn't think the Mexican government had investigated enough. She told CBS News:
As far as we know, we don't think they have been looking. We understand the possibility that the people who did this probably have him. And that's why maybe they can't find him.
Then during a Washington D.C. press conference on May 12 Hartley also criticized President Barack Obama's administration for not doing enough to recover her husband's body.
Falcon Lake, a dammed section of the Rio Grande, has been plagued by pirates who rob boaters and fishermen in Mexican waters, and Texas officials warn recreationists to avoid the lake. Hartley's death would be the first confirmed killing there.
Officials in Tamaulipas state, Mexico, at first cast doubt on Tiffany Hartley's story, saying nearby residents did not report hearing Jet Skis or gunshots in the area where Hartley reportedly was shot. Authorities later said they conducted a sweeping search involving more than 100 people by boat, helicopter and all-terrain vehicle. Divers searched the lake, which is 25 miles long and 3 miles wide.
U.S. consulate officials have said there's no reason to doubt Hartley's story.
The search was hampered by threats of ambush of authorities who were searching the lake, presumably by the Zetas drug gang, as well as the death of the Tamaulipas state police commander and chief investigator of the Hartley case, Rolando Flores, whose decapitated head was delivered in a suitcase to a local Mexican army post while the search was under way.
Read Governor Hickenlooper's letter to Attorney General Eric Holder here: David Hartley Letter