Mexico recounts soccer player’s escape
Ciudad Victoria, Mexico — About 24 hours after he was kidnapped, Mexican soccer star Alan Pulido found himself alone with one of his captors and saw his chance. He wrestled away the man’s pistol and his cellphone and dialed Mexico’s emergency number.
Minutes later, he was free.
An official summary report of three calls to an emergency operator obtained by the Associated Press shows that the 25-year-old forward for Olympiakos in the Greek league threatened and beat his captor while on the phone, demanding to be told where they were.
The dramatic account of derring-do shows that Pulido — listed at 5-foot-9 and about 150 pounds, was the main actor in his own liberation — a contrast with initial official accounts of his rescue.
On a first call, with the kidnapper overpowered, Pulido peered out of a window and described the white two-story house with two cars, gray and red, parked in front.
In the next call, Pulido told the operator that state police had arrived outside. The operator told him to fire the pistol so they would know they were in the right spot, but Pulido said he had no bullets. He said police themselves were starting to shoot and described his shorts and tank top so they wouldn’t confuse him with the now-unconscious captor.
Once police arrived, he made a third call to confirm with the operator that they were trustworthy.
Tamaulipas state Attorney General Ismael Quintanilla told a news conference that emergency services had received the call after midnight Sunday due to “a careless act by his captors.”
In a later interview with Imagen Radio, he confirmed Pulido had forcibly seized the phone from his captor.
“There was an exchange of punches between them,” Quintanilla said, though he did not mention the pistol.
Pulido was nabbed by four armed people on a highway while returning from a party at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday. His girlfriend, who was not taken, alerted others.
“Everyone began to activate to look for him, especially when we knew who he was, because we knew it was going to make a big ruckus and was going to be affecting us a lot in the press,” Quintanilla said.
He said the army, federal and state police participated, including three helicopters.
Pulido’s family received the first ransom call around 1:30 p.m. on Sunday and a second one a short time later, Quintanilla said.
The suspect was a 38-year-old from the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, who Quintanilla said was a member of one of the criminal organizations operating in the city. He said three other suspects were identified and a search is underway.