Kidnapped American's family appeals to his Mexico abductors

Miami HeraldJanuary 7, 2009 

The family members of an American anti-kidnapping expert who was abducted last month in Mexico made their first public appeal on his behalf at a Miami press conference Wednesday.

Lourdes Batista begged for the safe return of her husband, Felix Batista, who disappeared on Dec. 10 from a restaurant in the northern Mexico state of Coahuila.

''I want him back,'' she said softly before kissing a portrait of her husband. "Please return my husband to his family, to his home, to his children.''

Batista, 53, specializes in resolving kidnapping cases and was in Mexico to give conferences on avoiding abductions to potential kidnapping targets. No ransom demand has been made.

''At least let us know what has happened to our beloved Felix,'' his sister, Jackie Batista, said, directing herself at his captors.

Batista, a Cuban American who lives in Miami, works for the Houston-based security firm ASI Global and is listed as the Latin America expert on their website.

Mexican media reported that Batista worked for the FBI, a rumor that those close to him feared would put his life at risk. His family emphasized at the press conference that was not true.

''Let me clarify: My brother does not work, and has never worked'' for the FBI or CIA, Jackie Batista said.

Coahuila state Attorney General Jesus Torres told the Associated Press that Batista went willingly with his abductors, handing some of his personal belongings to his dining companions and leaving them with numbers to call if anything happened to him.

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