Kidnapping expert falls victim himself

December 16, 2008 4:45:44 PM PST
A renowned kidnapping expert with ties to Houston is missing and believed to have been kidnapped himself. The abduction reportedly happened in Mexico almost a week ago.[SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Felix Batista worked for ASI Global. It's a local security company here in Houston. Ironically, it's said that he had negotiated more than 100 kidnappings in his career. That is, until he went missing.

At the ASI Global headquarters in Houston, few details of the kidnapping are being released. The company, which specializes in security consulting for insurance companies, wrote in a prepared statement, "Our thoughts and prayers are with Felix and his family at this time."

The company confirms its employee, Felix Batista, was kidnapped Wednesday by unknown persons in the northern city of Saltillo, Mexico, while he was there on private business.

Published reports indicate the seasoned kidnapping negotiator was eating at a restaurant with several people when he got a call and left. He reportedly told his companions that some people in a white SUV were going to leave him a message. However, investigators say he got into a vehicle that wasn't the one he had described.

Batista was reportedly in the Mexican town to offer advice on how to confront abductions for ransom when he himself was seized.

Mexico is no stranger to violence, especially along the Texas-Mexico border. Recent clashes between police and warlords have lead to much publicized headlines. Kidnappings themselves in Mexico are considered among the highest in the world.

Carlos Gonzalez, Consul General of Mexico in Houston, said, "I'd be foolish to say that we're not concerned. We are, of course, concerned."

The consul general says he has not been briefed specifically on Batista's abduction. However, he believes the kidnapping was likely targeted.

No one from ASI would comment on camera about the case. In a statement, the company writes, "We will not take any questions and ask you now to please understand and respect our request for this matter to be treated in a sensitive manner."

It's unclear if Batista's captors have requested a ransom. We have learned that both the FBI and Mexican authorities are looking into the case.

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