The FBI in Brownsville, Texas, asked the public for help Monday in the May kidnapping of a 25-year-old U.S. Marine, along with his father and uncle in the Mexican border town of LaBarranca.
Armando Torres, III has been missing since May 14, when authorities said he was taken at gunpoint at his father's ranch near Los Indios, Texas
, according to an FBI news release. Authorities said he was taken with his father, Armando Torres II, and uncle Salvador Torres.
Investigators believe that armed intruders took the men shortly after the younger Torres' arrival at the LaBarranca ranch and have not been heard from since. The kidnapping has set off dual investigations in the United States and Mexico.
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The younger Torres’ sister Cristina Torres, 24, who lives in Virginia, told The Monitor, the daily newspaper in McAllen, Texas, that said she received a call from her cousin minutes after the gunmen raced away.
“She saw a white truck with people in it and they just went in the house and got my brother and my dad and my uncle and just put them in the truck and took off,” Cristina Torres said. “They took a lot of their belongings in the house and they took the cars, as well.”
Christina Torres said the family believes the kidnapping is tied to a land dispute, saying drug traffickers had been trying to get the property because of its proximity to the border and they did not want to give it up.
Armando Torres III, from San Benito, Texas, is a U.S. Marine in the Individual Ready Reserve and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the FBI said. His father and uncle are both Mexican citizens. He enlisted after graduating high school in 2005, his sister said.
He was living in Hargill, Texas, when the kidnapping occurred and has two children, boys ages 4 and 3.
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Friends and fellow Marines started a “Get Our Brother Back” Facebook group last month dedicated to spreading the word about the kidnapping and asking for help investigating it.
Melissa Estrada, who identified herself on the site as the mother of the children, begged others to reach out to lawmakers and sign petitions in posts May 27 and 29. She added that her baby boy “was saying he missed his father with tears and heartache I could not fix.”
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