Kidnapping often goes unreported in the Rio Grande Valley.
That TMs the reason Adriana Chavez is speaking out.
They held me at gunpoint, they hand cuffed me, they drug me out and threw me in the back of my SUV, Chavez said.
The Hidalgo County woman was kidnapped from a business in Weslaco in July 2012.
Her captors blind-folded and held her for 19 hours.
You hear about kidnapping and what TMs the first thing in your head Chavez asked. You know they don TMt survive.
But Chavez was determined to see her family again.
I got away because I was like it TMs either they're going to kill me or I TMm going to die trying, Chavez said.
Her story of survival and escape led to a conference held today at the University of Texas Pan American campus.
The conference focused on kidnapping and the missing on the U.S./Mexico Border.
Many kidnapping survivors and security experts spoke on the issue.
There TMs been such a veil over the past couple of years, but now what you see is that veil is being lifted, said Rich Roth, a security expert with Counter Technology Inc. said.
The Mission-based security expert said education and awareness is the key to survival.
Roth said it is important to always be aware of your surroundings and if someone is acting suspicious, remember the Rule of Seven.
If they can get within 7 feet of you, they can grab you and get control of you quickly, Roth said.
Roth said that it is important for kidnapping victims to remain calm.
We find if you can stay calm in very tense situations, it calms down everybody around you it makes the attackers even more calm, Roth said.
That TMs a tool Chavez used to escape from her captors.
Rich also explained many people have a misconception about who gets kidnapped.
There TMs a victimology problem. You think everybody that gets yanked or kidnapped is involved in drugs, Roth said.
But in Chavez TMs case, she said her captors wanted money.
One of them now sits in jail.
I was lucky, Chavez said. There are some that aren TMt so lucky.