SAN DIEGO, CA (ANS) -- Pastor Manual Jesus Tec is home with his family in San Diego after a harrowing 11 days in the hands of kidnappers who tortured him and, in the end, tried to kill him, according to his son Johnny Tec.
Speaking to Rich Buhler on his radio program Talk From the Heart on KBRT radio in Los Angeles, 30-year old Tec said on Monday that his father was found by police in Tijuana on Friday morning, October 31.
The 59-year old pastor had been missing since October 21 when armed men pulled him over when he was driving in Tijuana. His wife and a son were with him but were not taken and were not harmed.
Shortly afterwards the Tec family began receiving phone calls from the kidnappers demanding ransom for Pastor Tec. At first they demanded $1 million.
"We had no idea who had taken him or why, "Tec told Buhler. "At first we thought it must have been a case of mistaken identity because nobody would have viewed our family as being able to come up with a million dollars." But the kidnappers kept calling and over the 11 days, their demands changed as they asked for smaller amounts of money.
Tec said that his father was kept bound and gagged during the entire ordeal, was deprived of food and water, and was tortured
Tec and his family had spent much of the early morning hours on Friday in prayer. The son told Baptist Press that the family was told to meet one of the kidnappers under a bridge in Tijuana at around 3:30am. One of the pastor's sons was told that his father would be released within 5 minutes of that meeting, but he was not. At about 5:00 am the family got a call from the kidnappers saying that after extensive negotiations, pastor Tec was finally going to be released.
"We were cautiously excited, " said Tec, "but we had heard that sometimes kidnappers would not follow through on a promise to release a victim." He said that about an hour later they got a call from a Tijuana hospital that his father was there and being treated for dehydration and various injuries, but would be well enough to leave. Arrangements were made to transfer him from Tijuana to a hospital across the border in the United States.
Pastor Tec related that he had been driven to the drop-off point in the back of a pick-up truck that was also carrying buckets of gravel and sand. He said that his kidnappers dumped him on the ground, covered him loosely with the sand and gravel, then shot at him with what sounded like automatic weapons. He remembered praying while the bullets hit around him, but none of them actually struck him.
"I think they were trying to kill him and trying to save time burying him," Johnny Tec said during the radio interview.
After waiting for a while after the shooting, Pastor Tec was able to move the sand and gravel off of him enough to be found by arriving police officers who were apparently attracted by the sound of gunfire.
Tec told Buhler that his father was tortured during his 11-day confinement. Both his hands and feet were handcuffed during the entire time and he came away with bruises and wounds over much of his body.
"When he tried to talk to them about God, he'd tell them that he knew where he was going and he wasn't worried about himself, but he was worried about them because they didn't know where they were going," said Tec. In response they would torture him.
"He became weak from the lack of food and water and believed the kidnappers when they told him that they had killed all his family, they had taken his home, and that he had no house anymore; That all his family, his mother, his father, and all of us were all dead," according to Tec.
He added that the abductors taunted his father when he was hungry and thirsty by offering him cold sodas or ice water, which they would then cruelly spill at his feet.
Tec said that his father had severe injury to his wrists from the handcuffs and lack of circulation to his hands as well as cuts and bruises from being beaten with barbed wire.
When the family showed up at the hospital, his father was frightened and had to be calmed, according to Tec. "It broke our heats, "he continued. "The kidnappers had taken advantage of his weakened state and told him during his beatings that it was members of his family who were inflicting the blows."
When the family first saw Pastor Tec, he kept asking them if they were going to hit him anymore.
"It has been a miracle, "Tec explained. "My father said that at times when he was praying he would see buses of Christian people that would go into this place and start singing songs of worship. He would worship with them and pray with the people."
Tec said that in some divine way all of those people who were praying for Pastor Tec were present with him.
Pastor Tec talked with Buhler briefly during the radio interview to say, "Thank you for your prayers for me. I am free now. My God is a big one."