Family of Nederland man killed in Algeria hostage situation speaks out

January 22, 2013 3:47:50 PM PST
Victor Lovelady of Nederland was one of the three Americans killed in the Algerian hostage standoff. His family tells us he loved his job and was an avid hunter.

The frightening hostage situation in Algeria is over, but for one local family the worst is just now setting in. The Lovelady family is being briefed daily still by the FBI. They first hear their loved one working halfway around the world was safe, only to find out later that he is among the dead.

Victor Lovelady, of Nederland, is one of 38 hostages killed at the Ain Amenas gas field in the Sahara Desert. He was working at Rovan as a contractor for BP, which partly operated the gas field.

"He was not concerned for his safety at all. He had told me this was a safe place. He told his daughter and his family the same thing," said his brother, Mike Lovelady, at a press conference Tuesday morning.

The four-day standoff ended Saturday after Algerian troops stormed the complex. Twenty-nine militants were also died in the standoff. Five foreign workers remain unaccounted for.

"My brother didn't deserve to die," he said. "We all feel it could've been handled differently. I know I do."

Victor Lovelady grew up with his brother in Nederland, a place he called home until just two years ago when he moved to the Houston area.

Lovelady first went to Algeria in November, returned home for the holidays, then went back to Algeria after the first of the year. The family says he had only been there for about 10 days when he was killed.

"Was so excited to go there. I don't really know why, but he really just loved it," said his daughter, Erin Lovelady.

She says when word first broke of the attack, the state department insisted her father was safe. They breathed easier, believing then that he had miraculously survived, until receiving a gut-wrenching call from authorities early Saturday morning. Then authorities officially identified his body early Monday morning.

"We truly believed he was coming home, so to hear that he was not coming back to us was devastating," Erin Lovelady said.

"He's worked so hard. He used to drive back and forth to Houston so we could go to school here," said his daughter, Erin Lovelady. "Words can't express the kind of man he was to this family."

She said he waited to work abroad until after his two kids had graduated.

"He did this trip over there for his family," said Mike Lovelady. "This is how much he thought of his family and how he could set his family up to do better, to retire and to live comfortably."

The family doesn't know how he died, but they say the FBI told them they don't think he suffered.

"It is my goal to find out how my brother died and they promised me that they would get me that information later," said Mike Lovelady.

Lovelady was an avid outdoorsman and leaves behind his wife, daughter, son and brother.

It's not clear when Lovelady's body will be returned to the United States. An autopsy will be performed after it arrives here.

The funeral arrangements have not been set yet. Lovelady was 57 years old.

Victor Lovelady is one of two men from our area who died during the hostage situation. Fred Buttaccio, of Katy, was also killed. He was 58.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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