Report: Mexican Officials ID 2 Suspects In Border Pirate Slaying

Colo. Native Gunned Down Crossing Border Lake With Wife

Mexican officials have identified two suspects in a pirate-attack that killed Colorado-native David Hartley as he was Jet Skiing on a border lake with his wife.

The two suspects were identified as Juan Pedro Saldivar Farias and his brother, Jose Manuel Saldivar Farias, Tamaulipas state police Commander Juan Carlos Ballasteros told KRGV-TV, the ABC station in McAllen, Texas.

Both men are said to be suspected members of the Zeta drug cartel from Nueva Ciudad Guerrero, near the abandoned town where David Hartley and Tiffany Young-Hartley were sightseeing before they were ambushed, Ballesteros told the station.

Mexican state officials have not released photographs of the men, but Ballesteros said the brothers are suspects in a string of murders, kidnappings, armed robberies and arson fires, the station reported.

David's father told 7NEWS on Monday that he thinks the Mexico government is lying.

"I think it's just another show," said Dennis Hartley. "I think they're just trying to do anything they can to show they're trying to do something."

A day earlier, news that Mexican authorities had a break in the case gave new hope to the couple's family. They initially doubted Tiffany Young-Hartley's story of the attack.

“We’re just relieved they have found suspects and hoping they can give authorities information on where David’s body is," Tiffany's sister, Tia Young, of Aurora, told 7NEWS Sunday.

"Right now, since we don't have his body, it's a nightmare we can't wake up from," the sister told 7NEWS Reporter Jaclyn Allen.

The fact that Mexican authorities now suspect drug traffickers also erased all doubts about Tiffany's account of what happened that horrible day, the sister said.

"I think it's a huge relief, because anybody that knows Tiffany knows that she would never hurt a fly, let alone kill her husband," Tia Young said. "They loved each other very much."

Meanwhile, Mexican army soldiers searching for Hartley's body got into a shootout with suspected Zetas gang members over the weekend, KRGV-TV reported. Six of the suspected Zetas were killed and one soldier wounded, the Mexican National Defense Ministry said.

The soldiers were patrolling on the southern shore of Falcon Lake near New Guerreo when they found a car with six people inside. That's when the gun battle erupted, the ministry said.

The slaying of Hartley has become an international incident as family members and friends of the young couple protested outside the Mexican Consulate in Denver.

On Friday, protestors demanded the Mexican government do more to recover the 30-year-old Hartley's body. The couple is originally from Loveland and had been planning to move back to Colorado from Texas where David worked in the oil industry.

"Bring David home -- now!" the marchers chanted wearing orange and blue T-shirts emblazoned with the same message. "Justice for the Hartleys!"

Hartleys' supporters were outraged when early on some Mexican officials questioned the wife's story because they were unable to find the man's body or his watercraft.

However, Zapata County Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez Jr. countered with evidence supporting the wife's account of the Sept. 30 deadly attack, including a bloody smear on her life jacket.

The wife told authorities David Hartley was shot in the head by gunmen in three boats who chased the couple across Falcon Lake, which straddles the Mexico-Texas border. She said she tried to pull her husband's limp body from the water onto her personal watercraft, but found him dead from a gunshot to the head. She was forced to flee as the gunmen kept firing at her.

The sheriff said an independent witness told investigators that he looked out onto the lake from Zapata to see Tiffany Young-Hartley whipping across the water on her Jet Ski and a boat with several men in it pursuing her.

Gonzalez also cited three earlier attacks on the lake, reported in April and May, which unfolded in almost the same way that Young-Hartley described her ordeal. No one was injured in any of those incidents.