‘I’m Kidnapped’: A Father’s Nightmare on the Border

A father was tortured in front of his 3-year-old son until his wife in New Jersey paid $2,000 to his captors. Chilling audio of the negotiations for his release shows how migrants, turned back by the U.S., are facing new dangers in Mexico.

By Miriam Jordan

The New York Times. Dec. 21, 2019

REYNOSA, Mexico — He remembers being on his knees, gagged and blinded with duct tape, his hands tied behind his back. One of his captors struck his left thigh with a bat and scraped his neck with an ax, threatening to cut him.

His 3-year-old son watched and wailed.

“Tell the boy to shut up. Make him shut up,” one of the men barked, ripping the duct tape from his mouth.

A few hours earlier, the 28-year-old migrant from Honduras, whose name is José, had been walking with his son down a street in Reynosa, Mexico, having been turned back at the border by the United States. Suddenly three men grabbed him, shoved a hood over his head and thrust him and his son into a vehicle.

The abduction on Nov. 25 set off hours of intense negotiations as José’s wife in the United States, forced to listen to the sounds of her husband being tortured, tearfully negotiated a ransom over the phone.

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