WACO (December 30, 2011)—Professional angler Alton Jones of Waco was fishing Wednesday with two friends on the Mexican side of Falcon Lake when one of his companions spotted what appeared to be a skull and ribcage on the bank of the dammed section of the Rio Grande, which is split between the two countries.
On closer inspection, Jones said, it quickly became obvious they had discovered the remains of a human draped in mud-caked clothing with the feet tied together and appeared to be a hole in the rear of the skull.
“It struck us these were human remains we were looking at,” he said Friday, “and it sends a chill down your spine.”
Jones said the first thing that came to mind was David Hartley, the Texas transplant who was gunned down by pirates on the lake in September 2010.
He said he and his friends took a photo and noted the GPS coordinates and then forwarded information to the U.S. Border Patrol.
“ I kind of hope it’s Hartley, because that would bring some closure to the case, the Hartley family and the area,” he wrote.
On Sept. 30, 2010, Tiffany Hartley reported that her husband, David, was shot to death by Mexican pirates who chased them on speedboats across Falcon Lake, as they returned on Jet Skis from a trip to photograph an historic Mexican church.
The Berthoud, Colo., native said the pirates shot her husband in the back of the head.
She said they then opened fire on her as she tried in vain to pull her injured husband onto her Jet Ski.
She told News 10 Friday she has mixed emotions about Jones’ discovery, but said, “This could be the miracle we’ve been waiting for.”
“We're just hoping this is him…and we'll be able to bring him home,” she said.
The Hartleys met while in high school in Loveland, Colo.
They later moved to Reynosa, N.M., and, about five months before the killing, they moved to Texas where David Harley worked in the oil industry.