Father says his two sons were kidnapped in San Fernando

Arturo Roman fears for the worst but is hoping for the best.

His two sons were kidnapped outside a restaurant in San Fernando, Tamaulipas back in August and haven't been heard from since.

Like hundreds of others, the Mexico City man is among a large group of people who have flooded Matamoros and Reynosa.

All of them wanting to know if their missing family member is among the victims killed in kidnapping and murders of bus passengers in San Fernando over the past year.

Authorities have found more than 120 bodies in at 14 mass gravesites. Investigators fear there may be even more bodies.

Roman hopes that his sons are still alive but already gave a blood sample to match DNA to bodies already discovered and sent to different labs.


"My youngest son, they put him in the trunk of a car," Roman said in Spanish. "My oldest son, they put him in an SUV."

Roman said his two sons planned to travel from their home in Mexico City to go shopping in Houston during the last week of August 2010.

His 35-year-old son Natanael Arturo Roman and 21-year-old Josue Axel Roman weren't able to get a visa to travel to Houston, so they went shopping in McAllen instead.

They two spent a couple of days in the Rio Grande Valley and were headed back home when they stopped at Don Pedrito's Restaurant on a highway outside San Fernando.

The brothers enjoyed a carne asada dinner and were getting ready to leave when they approached by armed men.

According to witnesses and text messages, both Natanael and Josue were separated.

One was put in the trunk of a car while Natanael was taken in an SUV.

Josue still had his cell phone on him and managed to send a text message.

"No joke man...they just kidnapped us in San Fernando...don't do anything...if anything happens, tell my parents I love them," Josue wrote. "They put me in the trunk of a car. Don't call me or anything."


The kidnapping took place two days after authorities found the bodies of 72 Central and South American immigrants at a ranch outside San Fernando.

Arturo Roman said his, his wife and their daughter have been searching for clues as to what happened to them ever since.

The family has spent tens of thousands of dollars traveling to the border to speak to officials and following leads every time bodies are discovered in Tamaulipas.

Roman said they've also reported the case to everyone from the Office of the President to the military and to federal, state and local police.

But their missing persons case has not produced results.

"It's very difficult when a loved one disappears," Roman said in Spanish. " You no longer feel alive. You don't sleep. Nothing. You think about them all the time."

Roman said the pain of his missing sons is something he feels every day.

"It's very sad," he said. "They weren't just my sons, they were my friends. We always traveled everywhere together. We had a great relationship."

Clinging to Hope

Roman said the family clings to hope that they're alive somewhere or being held prisoner but the recent news from San Fernando made them realize that they aren't alone.

"It's not an isolated case," Roman said. "We didn't realize it. We thought we were the only ones. But shamefully in Matamoros there's a number of people that you have no idea."

Roman said his family is being patient with the bureaucracy of Tamaulipas state police.

They have to wait to 10 to 15 days for DNA results and would have to return to Matamoros of San Fernando to receive in person.

Roman claims that bodies were found and left there until a refrigerator truck could be found while others are being treated with a powder to prevent further decomposition.

"It's not fair that they can be this way with human suffering," Roman said of the bodies. "They must not be fathers or brothers. I don't know."

In the meantime, Roman said he and his family are staying tuned to social media networks and the Internet for the latest word about the bodies found in San Fernando.