Over the past couple of days there have been several developments in the alleged Falcon Lake piracy attack and murder. First, Zapata County Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez says that he has a witness who corroborates Tiffany Hartley’s story. That witness, whose identity is being concealed out of safety concerns, claims that when Hartley came off the lake on her jet ski, she was being chased by men in a boat and that she was sobbing and frantic. This eyewitness account of seeing the boat giving chase is key. If the witness saw the chase, Hartley is at least telling the truth about that aspect of the incident. Fox has also reported that the Hartleys were briefly stopped by police on their way to the lake, because they were driving a truck with Mexican plates but their jet ski trailer had Texas plates. The couple did live in Reynosa, Mexico, until a few months ago, but the violence there led them to move back across the border to McAllen, TX. So their license plate situation doesn’t suggest much, in my opinion. They were let go after the brief stop and went on their way.
Sheriff Gonzalez also says that he has retrieved blood evidence from Tiffany Hartley’s life vest. Put that evidence together with the witness corroborating her story of the chase, and her story overall looks more solid.
Zapata County’s sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez has told CBS News he has blood evidence from the lifevest of Tiffany Hartley, the wife of David Hartley, that supports her account of a pirate attack on a lake that straddles the Texas-Mexico border.
Those who already doubt Hartley may see this as evidence that she murdered David. The blood could have gotten onto her vest whether she shot him or he was close to her when pirates shot him. Its presence on her vest is not dispositive either way, but does point to violence having occurred. Sheriff Gonzalez is treating Hartley’s story as truth, and has throughout the week since it happened.
On Fox News Channel Thursday, another victim of Falcon Lake piracy came forward and said that Hartley’s story fits what happened to him on the lake a few months ago. He’s Dr. Richard Drake, and he was fishing on Falcon Lake when pirates ambushed him. Here’s his interview with Megyn Kelly. Again, he wasn’t on the Mexican side of the lake. He was out in the center, on the Texas side of the border, when he was ambushed.
There are several important aspects to Drake’s story. One, like Tiffany Hartley, for whatever reason the pirates allowed Drake to escape with his life. Two, while he says that there are questions about Hartley’s story that still need to be answered (and he’s right about that), he says that her story rings true to him based on his own experience. Three, he wasn’t in Mexican waters when this occurred.