EUGENE, Ore. — We continue to pursue efforts on obtaining information on the Wattier hit-and-run investigation in Mexico.
Lane County Sheriff’s Deputy Drew Wattier and his wife Michelle were hit by a car outside their Dreams Resort at the end of November.
On Friday, Tanya Gomez, an interpreter with Centro Latino Americano, offered her services pro bono to try to get some answers for us from Mexican authorities on the investigation. We started with the local police department and quickly learned this was going to be harder than we thought.
At one point we were even directed to the equivalent of the Department of Motor Vehicles, but then we started getting somewhere.
“This happened on a federal roadway so they gave me a number to what we call the state police,” Gomez said.
It was there that we were connected to the first sergeant of the San Jose del Cabo Police. That federal police sergeant confirmed the accident and told us the report says the Wattiers were crossing the road, but that there were no signals used and they weren’t in a crosswalk. And here’s what he said about the driver.
“He did leave the scene of the crime. He was detained by local police and the publico, which would be the DA’s office, would have more information,” Gomez said.
His office was unable to send us a police report, but we are working with the U.S. Embassy to obtain that.
There have been some conflicting reports as to whether this investigation was already closed. Here’s what comes concluded after her conversation.
“There’s a prosecutor to this case and he is going to determine he was detained and he is going to investigate fully, and to him it just didn’t seem like it was closed. It’s still pending and it’s in the prosecutor’s hands of of investigating and going through all of this,” Gomez said.
We spoke with Michelle’s brother Mike Brye by phone Friday about our finding.
“It sounds like KEZI further in one hour than what I have gotten in 32 days and two U.S. senators and the U.S. Consulates Office, which they are now saying the investigation is not closed. I am very happy with that,” Brye said.
But given his attempts this month, he’s still skeptical of this information
“The cynic in me tells me the only reason they are saying it is open because a member of the media called them because they have had 32 days to investigate a hit and run, and it just doesn’t seem to me like it takes 32 days to investigate a hit and run,” Brye said.
There are still many frustrations, but they agree the small steps matter. Michelle’s brother told us he’s also just learned the Dreams Resort, where the couple was staying, is going to construct a crossing area or bridge where Drew and Michelle were hit, in their honor.
Here’s some alarming statistics from the National Human Rights Commission on Mexican crimes. It says 1 out of 10 crimes are reported in Mexico, 1 out of 100 reported crimes actually go to sentencing and 1 out of 1,000 crimes is actually punished.
The U.S. State Department says if you or someone you know become the victim of a crime abroad, you contact the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. It says you should not rely on a hotel, restaurant or tour company to make a report for you. The state department also recommends getting copies of the police report, and it usually acts as a liaison for families.