ABC13 Tata search comes to an end

March 14, 2011 2:45:58 PM PDT
The foreign minister in Nigeria said there are no American authorities from the United States Marshal's Office in Nigeria physically searching for Jessica Tata, who's wanted for the death of four children killed in a fire at a day care center in her Houston home. In fact, even authorities we spoke with in Port Harcourt have never heard of her.

Walking the streets and neighborhoods of this militant city has become increasingly dangerous.

Tata's father owns an electronics business in the area. This region is filled with gangs and insurgents responsible for years of civil conflict, but it's also the tribal area where Tata is known to be hiding.

Close connected sources told us that this neighborhood is the place where Tata now lives. We've done the groundwork. This is indeed where she is. However, speaking with those sources on camera is difficult.

"This is where she's at. This is where she's at," one of the well-connected sources said. "The U.S. Marshal's job has been done. They can just stay behind and put the pieces together."

The problem is finding her in a place where thugs and militants hide. We ran into one militant who has weapons and military -- an arsenal -- that would surprise most.

"We know how we can get what we want, and if we don't get it, we are going to take out thousands of people," the man said off-camera.

After locating her father's business, and Tata's believed hideout, our search for her came to an end.

The run-in with the militants was not a complete surprise. In fact, the U.S. Embassy in the country warned and advised us to stay away from Port Harcourt.

"It's too dangerous," the embassy said.

That is, perhaps, the reason why U.S. authorities are not in Nigeria, and why Tata may be difficult to find.