IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

The Desperate Hours

It was another perfect morning in beautiful San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, for the Valsecas. Little did they know it would be the beginning of a horrific seven and a half months of sheer terror and torture for Eduardo Valseca, son of a Mexican newspaper baron, and Jayne, his wife who tried desperately to free him from kidnappers.
/ Source: Dateline NBC

KEITH MORRISON reporting: (Voiceover) It was a perfect morning, a brilliant sunny day in June, in a place that felt like paradise.

(Fountain; Jayne in kitchen; plants in field blowing; children playing)

Ms. VALSECA: (Voiceover) I'd be packing the lunches...

(Jayne in kitchen)

Ms. VALSECA: ...the kids getting dressed.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) They'd pile into the Jeep for the short drive to school. Fernando, the eldest, would ride the four-wheeler out ahead of them. In the car they'd sing with the little ones, just like always, no idea what was waiting, what was about to happen here in paradise. She--the woman who went through it, the one you're about to meet--is Jayne, J-A-Y-N-E, a detail that will matter later, and she must have been a beautiful baby.

(Jeep and dogs; Jeep on road: Fernando walking; Jeep; field off of road; Jayne singing; children singing; Jeep on road; shattered glass; gun; inside vehicle; Jayne blowing kiss; vehicle; children playing; photo of Eduardo in captivity; Jayne unlocking gate; clip from Red Cross commercial)

MORRISON: (Voiceover) This baby, in fact. This is her first TV commercial at seven months for the Red Cross. And there she is in a McDonald's commercial back when she was a high school student in Silver Spring, Maryland.

(Clip from Red Cross and McDonald's commercials)

Ms. VALSECA: My whole life I had worked as an actress and did a lot of television commercials, bit roles in movies and in soap operas.

(Clip from "Stella")

MORRISON: (Voiceover) That's Jayne on the big screen, beside Bette Midler in the movie "Stella."

(Clip from "Stella")

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Acting skills: They would become, as you shall see, life-or-death crucial. But then we can't know the future, can we? Not when life seemed perfect and safe and strong.

(Clip from "Stella"; vehicle; hands in foliage; hammer on vehicle seat; Jayne dancing)

Ms. VALSECA: Well, it's kind of like one of these fairy tale stories.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Or at least it was then. It was 1992, she was 25, and it was unexpected, unanticipated, like some bizarre lottery of life. Jayne was at a pay phone in a Washington, DC, suburb. She just happened to lock eyes with a divorced art dealer named Eduardo Valseca. Eduardo, who, she would find out, was one of the nine children of Jose Garcia Valseca, Mexican newspaper baron who, 50 years ago, ruled a publishing empire.

(Photos of Jayne; pay phone; photos of Eduardo; photos of Jose Garcia Valseca)

MORRISON: Would be the equivalent in the United States of who?

Ms. VALSECA: William Randolph Hearst. An article published in Newsweek in 1950 says that he actually had a larger readership at that point in time than Hearst did.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) That's when Garcia Valseca ran his papers from a luxury Pullman train car, the one which, decades later, Eduardo owned--though when he invited this beautiful woman he just met to Mexico for a train ride, she had no idea that the train was his.

(Photo of Jose Garcia Valseca; photo of train car; inside train car; photo of Jayne and Eduardo; inside train car)

Ms. VALSECA: (Voiceover) We're walking toward it, and then this man comes out with a white jacket, white gloves, black bow tie, with a silver tray.

(Inside train car)

Ms. VALSECA: I mean, I was just completely speechless.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) She soon discovered the train car was about all Eduardo had of family fortune. The rest, along with the newspaper empire, had long since withered away. But Jayne fell for a man, not money. And what Eduardo lacked in fortune, he replaced with laughter and passion and a huge, enveloping personality. Jayne was in love and soon married and swept off to Mexico to a fresh place for a new life, new roots, new family and that famous name, Valseca.

(Inside train car; photo of Eduardo and others; photo of Jose Garcia Valseca and others; railroad tracks; photos of Jayne and Eduardo; wedding photo; Jayne and Eduardo dancing; sun; outside church; San Miguel de Allende; photo of Eduardo and Jayne)

MORRISON: One thing the legacy did afford them was the chance to live pretty much anywhere they wanted to, and Eduardo suggested a town in north central Mexico called San Miguel de Allende, 450 years old. Rich obviously in history, but also in culture and art, a place so desirable and so lovely that almost 10 percent of the population is composed of people who moved here from some other country.

(Voiceover) She rubbed shoulders here with other expatriate Americans and Canadians and Europeans, and fell hard for Mexico. Here, far away from the notorious crime of Mexico City.

(Church; scenes around San Miguel de Allende)

Ms. VALSECA: We didn't feel threatened. I would say that San Miguel then and perhaps even now is probably statistically as safe or safer than many of our US towns and small cities.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) And here they built a business in real estate, buying up old places, tarting them up, selling again. And, of course, having children.

(Eduardo at construction site; Eduardo dancing with children)

Ms. VALSECA: (Voiceover) It had been a big dream of mine to live in the country...

(Jayne holding child; field and cow; garden)

Ms. VALSECA: ...and to have a big organic garden and fruit trees and horses and lots of animals for the kids to play with.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) It was luck when this place came up, or what felt like luck before that terrible morning. It was a rundown 1,000-acre ranch and it was in foreclosure. They bought it for--well, it was embarrassingly cheap.

(Ranch; gate; fences; animals; dilapidated building)

Ms. VALSECA: (Voiceover) It was a great deal. But at the time, it was a pile of rocks, literally.

(Dilapidated building)

Ms. VALSECA: Every little bit of money that we made, everything that we could manage to save, we started putting into the ranch.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) They even found and restored a magnificent old fountain that once sat in the long-lost Valseca estate. And, no surprise, part of their building plan involved that stately old railroad car.

(Fountain; train car)

Ms. VALSECA: One of the marvelous parts about ending up with this piece of property was it just happened that the railroad track went right through it.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Jayne was behind their home movie camera as the car was towed to its new home on the ranch.

(Train car; Eduardo and child on train)

Mr. EDUARDO VALSECA: (Home videotape) So happy on the train, Mommy, a lot.

Ms. VALSECA: (Home videotape) Are you happy?

MORRISON: (Voiceover) And, happy here, they built a real ranch house among the mesquite trees and surrounded it with fine, big gates and outbuildings, a garden for her, a riding ring and fine Spanish horses for him. And for three growing children, a magic place, happy and secure: Fernando, Emiliano and baby Nayah. The children were the heart of it, really. They would do anything for the children. So Jayne told Eduardo about an education system called Waldorf Schools, not then available in San Miguel.

(Eduardo blowing kiss; ranch house; gates; buildings; Jayne in garden; Eduardo riding; Nayah; Emiliano; Fernando; children by fireplace; Fernando; Emiliano; Nayah waving; children dancing; Jayne; empty classroom; chalkboard)

Ms. VALSECA: And he said, `Well, let's bring the school to Mexico.' So we formed a parent group and got moving on founding a school.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) They donated land, part of the ranch, recruited other families, built the school.

(Children walking; children playing; children playing recorders; school)

Ms. VALSECA: (Voiceover) We started with a couple of classrooms.

(Full classroom)

Ms. VALSECA: Actually, there were originally going to be stables for horses and we converted them into classrooms.


(Voiceover) And now every morning the quarter-mile commute down their own quiet country lane to school had become a family ritual.

(Country road; Jeep on road)

Ms. VALSECA: We'd go out the door, get in the Jeep, and the morning routine was singing all the way to school...

(Voiceover) ...which was really the only routine that we had.


MORRISON: (Voiceover) Fernando had a pet donkey then, rode it to school, that or a four-wheeler, always out ahead.

(Fernando, Emiliano, Nayah; donkey; country road)

Ms. VALSECA: We would follow along and the kids loved to same the same songs. They never tired of singing the same ones every morning.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) So now it was that perfect morning, June 2007, and they bumped and sang, noisy and happy, down the dusty road. And, of course, they did not understand--how could they?--that this was the last moment of pure innocence any of them would ever know. Coming up...

(Jeep on road)

Ms. VALSECA: We immediately were hit from behind.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) ...a violent awakening...

(Jeep with door open)

Ms. VALSECA: He just points the gun at my forehead.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) terror invades paradise. When The Desperate Hours continues.

Ms. VALSECA: (Voiceover) You know, life was so good for so long for us that it was almost like living in a fantasy.

(Jeep on road; landscape)

Ms. VALSECA: It was almost like on a daily basis, `Pinch me, is this real?'

MORRISON: (Voiceover) It was June 2007, a bright sunny morning, two weeks before summer vacation, minutes before the terror. Eduardo and Jayne Valseca and their three children arrived at the country school not far from their ranch house outside San Miguel de Allende in Mexico.

(Jeep on road; photo of Eduardo and Jayne; photo of Valseca children; Jeep on road)

Ms. VALSECA: (Voiceover) As we pulled into the parking lot, I noticed that there was a small compact car in the far corner of the parking lot.

(Jeep nearing school)

Ms. VALSECA: And there was a man at the wheel who had a fisherman's cap, khaki colored, on and glasses.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) A prospective parent perhaps for next year's class? Jayne walked the children to their classrooms. She stopped at the school office.

(Vehicles; Jayne walking; Waldorf San Miguel school)

Ms. VALSECA: And asked the administrator if she knew who the gentleman was or if he needed help. And she looked over and looked across the parking lot and said, `I don't know who he is. He must be waiting for someone.'

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Eduardo was behind the wheel of the Jeep, listening to the radio. The stranger's car was beyond it at the back of the lot.

(Vehicles at school; vehicle)

Ms. VALSECA: As I walked to the Jeep where my husband was, I looked across and made eye contact with him and actually smiled. And he smiled back.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Eduardo put the Jeep in gear, pulled away. The strange car fell in behind them.

(Jeep leaving parking lot)

Ms. VALSECA: (Voiceover) A pickup truck comes out of nowhere.

(Jeep on road)

Ms. VALSECA: It catches up to us and the man driving turns and looks at us, and the look was really scary.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) You saw him?

(Jayne in vehicle)

Ms. VALSECA: We both got just a really creepy feeling, just the way the man looked at us.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Now that strange car and the pickup truck raced to positions beside and in front of the Jeep.

(Jeep on road)

Ms. VALSECA: Eduardo said, `Something is definitely not right. What is this guy doing?'

MORRISON: (Voiceover) And then, in moments, it was obvious. Jayne and Eduardo were being chased, herded like cattle into a chute with no escape.

(Jeep on road; fence by road)

Ms. VALSECA: In the distance we see the compact car that has raced up our interior road cut in front.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Here she relived it, the horrified moment as the car in front of them suddenly stopped and Eduardo slammed on his brakes.

(Keith Morrison and Jayne in vehicle)

Ms. VALSECA: We immediately were hit from behind, and at that point, it was a split of a second, and there was a man coming out of the passenger side of the car...


Ms. VALSECA: ...coming at Eduardo, and he's got hammer in one hand and a handgun in the next.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) The masked man shattered the window, landed a hard blow to Eduardo's head that sent blood gushing down his face.

(Jeep; shattered glass; inside Jeep; Eduardo; crime scene photos)

Ms. VALSECA: The first thing I started thinking of was my children. Are my children going to lose their parents right now?

MORRISON: (Voiceover) A second attacker ran at Jayne, yanked open her door, pulled her from the Jeep. She screamed, kicked at him, grabbed the fence beside her. The barbed wire sliced through her finger. Her attacker forced her down.

(Jeep; person; Jeep door opening; outside vehicle; Jayne; grass; Jayne grabbing fence; grass and vehicle wheel)

Ms. VALSECA: While I'm laying on the ground, he just points the gun at my forehead and tells me in Spanish to get up. The first thing I said to him was, `Please don't kill me, I have three children.'

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Then they hustled Jayne and Eduardo into a waiting SUV. Unseen accomplices snapped pillowcases over their heads and tightly bound their hands and feet.

(SUV; inside vehicle)

Ms. VALSECA: Eduardo was hysterical. I don't think he was completely hearing me. He probably had a concussion.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) The SUV sped away. Jayne tried to comfort Eduardo. One of the abductors threatened more pain.

(SUV on road)

Ms. VALSECA: He kept saying--yelling at him, `Shut up you...(word censored by network)...or I'll give you another one.' And you could tell he was trying to disguise his voice.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Within minutes, word of attack got back to the school. Something was wrong. A teacher rushed to the now abandoned Jeep.

(Outside school; inside classroom; Jeep with door open)

Unidentified Woman #1: (Voiceover) I went with my partner.

(Jeep with door open)

Woman #1: And the left window was all broken and blood was in the--in the--in the ground. And I had that feeling there was a kidnapping.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) In the SUV, under that gagging pillowcase, Jayne struggled to breathe. She reached out for Eduardo.

(SUV on road; cloth)

Ms. VALSECA: I felt blood all down his arm.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Then she felt the blood pouring from her own slashed finger. She tried to memorize each bump and turn as the SUV veered onto the highway toward San Miguel then, minutes later, pulled over, stopped. Someone yanked Eduardo from the SUV. He screamed.

(Field; hand on fence; landscape as vehicle passes; road; bridge; Eduardo)

Ms. VALSECA: I hear the doors of that vehicle open. And after I hear them shut, I can no longer hear my husband's muffled screams. Then I hear what sounds like the engine of that car revving as if it's pulling away.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Jayne managed to lift the pillowcase hood just in time to see Eduardo vanish.

(Pillowcase rising)

Ms. VALSECA: I am able to make out the type of car that it is, more or less, and I memorized the license plates.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) And just as quickly, she realized she was alone. They'd all left.

(Inside vehicle)

Ms. VALSECA: I was bound, so I threw myself over the seat, ended up in the floor, pulled myself up, opened the door, and literally hopped as if I was in a sack race to the highway in flip-flops.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) An elderly man stopped to help. He had a machete, but no cell phone to call police. Frantically, Jayne tried to flag down passing cars; all hit the accelerator, not the brake.

(Highway; Jayne; highway)

Ms. VALSECA: And I'm begging them to please stop and help me. But I imagine it looked pretty scary to see a woman bleeding, desperate, bound in duct tape next to a guy with a machete.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Then, in sheer desperation, Jayne stepped in front of an oncoming bus.


Ms. VALSECA: He was coming this way.

(Voiceover) I jumped in front.


Ms. VALSECA: And I just put my hands up like this, and I hoped he stopped.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) But no cell phone on the bus, either. Now the bus driver flagged down a taxi, and the taxi driver called the police.

(Inside bus; highway)

Ms. VALSECA: All this information is going from me to the taxi driver, the taxi driver to the dispatcher, the dispatcher to the police, and the police to the dispatcher, and the whole way around. So it was like playing telephone.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Was there still time for the police to seal off the town, save her husband?

(Police vehicle; Eduardo kissing child)

Ms. VALSECA: And I thought because I had this description and the plates, I thought for sure that they would just--the police would run out in every direction, seal off San Miguel and we'd have them. End of story. But it didn't go that way.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) No, it didn't. Jayne says the police tried one escape highway, no other, and no Eduardo. He had been kidnapped.

(People and dog in fields; vehicle on road)

Ms. VALSECA: These people carried this whole operation out with such precision and such surprising professionalism, which seems a strange word to even use.

MORRISON: How long did it take them?

Ms. VALSECA: Seconds. They were cool as cucumbers.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) But that was just the first clue. On the ground beside the SUV in which the kidnappers abandoned Jayne was another, inside an envelope, addressed to Jayne.

(Field; road; fence by road)

Ms. VALSECA: The first thing that went through my mind was, `Well, I realized that they'd spelled my name correctly. My name is Jayne, spelled with a Y, so it was really scary to see on the envelope that they'd actually spelled my name right.

MORRISON: Nobody spells your name right.

Ms. VALSECA: No. No.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) And inside the envelope?


Ms. VALSECA: The ransom note says, `Senora, go home, open this e-mail with this password, and we have Eduardo. Eduardo is with us. Wait for our message to arrive.'

MORRISON: (Voiceover) It was then she understood. The kidnappers had been watching them, stalking them, researching every small detail.

(Clouds; outside building)

Ms. VALSECA: It immediately made me realize I needed to be very careful and very smart about the choices I was about to make.

(Voiceover) My husband's life was on the line.

(Eduardo playing with child)

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Coming up, what would she tell her children?

(Photo of Emiliano and Nayah; Fernando)

Ms. VALSECA: The hardest thing I've ever had to do.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) And to whom would she turn for help?

(Jayne at computer; feet on stairs)

Ms. VALSECA: I thought, `This is what you're sending me to deal with this?'

MORRISON: (Voiceover) When DATELINE continues.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Jayne Valseca sat in the dirt by the highway on the outskirts of San Miguel de Allende. A cop helped her strip away the duct tape around her hands and feet as he told her that her husband's kidnappers had escaped. She tried to stanch the blood from her injured finger, gashed on the barbed wire fence. She tried to tamp down the terror that grabbed at her throat, because she knew what had happened to others.

(Fence by road; highway; police vehicle; duct tape; highway; hands gripping fence; Jayne; photo of man and woman)

Unidentified Woman #2: (Voiceover) My husband was kidnapped on 2001.

(Photo of man and woman)

MORRISON: (Voiceover) This woman had already told her horrifying story.

(Woman speaking on phone)

Woman #2: And every time that we tell them that we don't have the money, so they cut a finger and they send us a finger.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) But that was Mexico City, one of the kidnapping capitals of the world, where Jayne had heard that thousands are snatched every year, wealthy and poor, from mansions, the backs of taxis, from taco stands.

(Photo of man and woman, close-up of hand missing fingers; Mexico City; man helping woman get up; reward poster; photo of hostage; photo of man; people hugging; bed on floor; reward sign; taxi; city street)

Ms. ANA MARIA SALAZAR: The kidnapping situation in Mexico is outrageous.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) This woman, Ana Maria Salazar, had been reporting it for years on TV, the breakdown of law and order, the mess in police forces.

(Ana Maria Salazar nearing door; Salazar at computer)

Ms. SALAZAR: You don't have a criminal justice system that has the ability to go after all these people.

(Voiceover) But the other problem is corruption. There's corrupt cops at the federal level. There's corrupt cops at the state level. And there's corrupt cops at the municipal level.

(City downtown; police walking; emergency vehicle; police badge)

Ms. SALAZAR: People just don't trust their cops.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Which is why, she says, so many kidnappings go unreported, making it impossible to know just how many thousands take place in Mexico. But this was safe little San Miguel, where Eduardo had always said...

(Emergency vehicle; road at night; busy highway; road through busy city; scenes around San Miguel de Allende)

Ms. VALSECA: `Do you think anybody's going to come out here in the country?' You know, `That's not going to happen.'

MORRISON: (Voiceover) But it had happened, and all she could think of was finding help fast.

(Jeep on road; Jayne)

Ms. VALSECA: (Voiceover) I'm sitting there in the dirt, in need of stitches.

(Dirt by road)

Ms. VALSECA: And I--at that point I have two cell phones going.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) But why? Wouldn't the police just take over? Well, no, not in Mexico. Jayne herself, in this supremely vulnerable moment, would have to decide which police, if any, she could trust to get her husband back.

(Police; dirt road; police and vehicles; police exiting bus; police carrying guns; police officer in vehicle)

Ms. VALSECA: (Voiceover) You can allow the local or state police to handle the situation. You can go to the Mexican equivalent of the FBI, which is the AFI or AFI, as they're called here, and let them handle it on a federal level.

(Police in street; AFI officers breaking into room)

Ms. VALSECA: Or you can go to a private consultant that you have to pay out of your own pocket, and they will negotiate it privately.

Unidentified Man #1: You don't know what to do when someone is saying, `Hey, I'm selling you back your daughter.'

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Jayne had heard about other kidnappings, like the one seven years earlier when kidnappers snatched this man's 25-year-old daughter, and in minutes he had to make the impossible decision.

(Man looking at photos; photo of woman)

Man #1: I knew I should go with the police. The problem was, which police? One of the toughest gangs was headed by the police who was in charge of the anti-kidnapping group. So with that in mind, I knew I couldn't go with the state police.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) He chose the federal police, who negotiated with the kidnappers, arranged a ransom payment, and still in the transfer could not prevent the murder of his daughter. What was Jayne to do? She'd heard all the stories. Sometimes police themselves were in involved in kidnappings.

(Policia Federal sign; person speaking on phone; map; phone being hung up; man at computer; police vehicle; police officers saluting)

Ms. VALSECA: I knew that there was a possibility that, yes, there were people that I--that were perhaps right there with me...

MORRISON: And you could not...

Ms. VALSECA: ...that I could not trust.

MORRISON: Right. And you'd know that the experience of well-heeled people had been, go to this private organization. It'll take care of you.

Ms. VALSECA: Right.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) So as cars whizzed by and the dirt-caked blood dried on her skin, Jayne placed calls all around the world to private companies that specialize in kidnap negotiation.

(Highway; dirt road)

Ms. VALSECA: They knew all the questions to ask. They said, `How many vehicles were involved? What did the note say? Can you describe the people? What did their guns look like?'

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Must be a sophisticated operation, they told Jayne. Negotiating would be difficult and expensive, at least $2500 US a day, plus expenses. Far more than she could afford. She wondered, could the state police help her? She asked them how successful they'd been solving kidnappings.

(Jeep door opening; shadows of people; money; Jayne; police at crime scene)

Ms. VALSECA: And they said, `Oh, yeah. We've resolved 100 percent.' And I said, `Really? So does that mean you got 100 percent of the victims back and you caught the bad guys?' And they said, `Yes, eventually we've gotten all of them.' It really made me feel very uneasy and untrusting because I know that 100 percent of the parking violations don't get resolved.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) There was only one choice left: the Mexican version of the FBI, the AFI or AFI, the elite unit of the federal police, which might at least get Eduardo back alive. So she made the call, went back to the ranch, cleaned up her wounds and braced herself to tell the children. The two youngest would be satisfied temporarily with a story about Eduardo being on a business trip. But not Fernando, then 12. He had to be told. And, anyway, she needed him now.

(Jayne; police vehicle; AFI entering building; photo of Eduardo and Jayne; outside ranch; Jayne; Emiliano and Nayah; Fernando)

Ms. VALSECA: It was very, very tough. You know, try explaining to a child that his father's just been stolen for money. The hardest thing I've ever had to do.

FERNANDO: I had never seen my mom like that. She was just--she looked like if the worst thing happened to her.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) He's grown fast since his father was kidnapped. Even so, for his own safety, we're hiding his face.

(Morrison interviewing Fernando)

FERNANDO: I asked her, `Was it by criminals, or what do you mean taken?' And she said, `He was kidnapped.' And that's all she said. And I just stood quiet. I couldn't believe it.

MORRISON: How's he take it?

Ms. VALSECA: He was devastated. I just said to him, `You know, you have to know that I will do everything humanly possible to get your father back.

(Voiceover) `If it takes everything we have, everything I can humanly do.'

(Photo of Eduardo and Fernando)

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Fernando was just a boy, but not for much longer. He fled to a special spot, his private place away from the house.

(Trees; view of ranch)

FERNANDO: (Voiceover) I got on my motorcycle and went up to this rock. It's a pretty big rock and it overlooks our ranch.

(Trees; view of ranch)

FERNANDO: I just started crying.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) It was later when he learned this was likely the place the kidnappers used to spy on his family. He never went back. Now it was evening.

(Hills; lights at night)

Ms. VALSECA: (Voiceover) I'm hoping that I'll get home, like they told me. I'll open the e-mail. There will be a message, and whatever I have access to, they can have it all.

(Jayne at computer)

Ms. VALSECA: OK. Just give him back. So I'm, at that point, hoping this is going to be an open-and-shut deal in less than 24 hours.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Jayne got ready for the arrival of the federal AFI agent. The federal police had promised he'd move in right away and live on the ranch until he got Eduardo back. She felt like she was waiting for the calvary to arrive. She let hope grow.

(Jayne at table)

Ms. VALSECA: I expected him to roll in in some kind of bulletproof Suburban, be big and burly and hopefully a little mature and having done this quite a while.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) And then, finally, at 3 AM, the AFI agent called. Could someone come and pick him up in town, he asked. He had come from Mexico City by bus.

(Lights at night, moon; Jayne; street at night; bus)

Ms. VALSECA: (Voiceover) He looked like a high school or maybe freshman in college student...

(Man exiting bus)

Ms. VALSECA: ...with a backpack, a baseball cap, glasses, tiny. And I thought, `What is going on? You mean this is what you're sending me to deal with this?' And so the first thing I asked him after shaking his hand was, `Are you armed?' And he said no. And I said, `Why not, for God's sake?'

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Seasoned criminals had engineered a seamless plan to steal her husband. And all she had on her side was a short, skinny kid with no apparent backup, no car and no gun.

(Jeep on road; photo of Eduardo and Jayne; Jayne sitting at table)

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Coming up, the kidnappers send a message from the shadows. They have a demand impossible to meet.

(Jayne; Jayne at computer; Jayne; e-mail)

Ms. VALSECA: OK, now I'm thinking they're just--they're just going to kill him.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) When The Desperate Hours continues.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Jayne stared at the kid from AFI with what could only be described as dismay. Her husband Eduardo had been kidnapped. She'd gone through the whole horrifying ordeal herself, had scoured the country in a desperate search for someone to help her. She was frantic. It was 3:00 in the morning and now the federal police had sent her an unarmed boy. The young man took one look at Jayne, saw her disappointment, and then spoke.

(Jayne walking; Eduardo; Jayne by fire; city at night; Jayne; outside ranch; man exiting on bus stairs; Jayne)

Ms. VALSECA: Had a very confident smile on his face. Takes off his glasses and hat and says, `Look, would you really want me arriving in a bulletproof Suburban and coming out with a machine gun? How would that look if you're being watched? We could be putting your husband at risk.'

MORRISON: (Voiceover) The agent, Jayne learned, was older than he looked, was an experienced hostage negotiator. He brought his weapon into Jayne's house. It was a laptop computer.

(Policia Federal sign; office; computer keyboard)

Ms. VALSECA: He actually selected a place here in the dining room where he would be the only one to see his computer screen.

(Voiceover) He was in a spot where he could see all the goings on in the house.

(Dining room)

MORRISON: (Voiceover) His name is a federal secret, his face a blank. Our interview request went to the highest level; we were denied. We do know he was constantly online with a team of agents in Mexico City, analyzing what clues they had, advising Jayne's agent on strategy. Not just Jayne's agent, of course.

(Blurred documents; outside Policia Federal building; computer; people working on computers)

Unidentified Man #2: We have as many as 25 kidnappings at a time.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Still, she might have been reassured by this, the state-of-the-art lab on standby, to identify the voices of any kidnappers who might call her.

(People working in office; voice equipment)

Unidentified Woman #3: (Through translator) We have 2,374 voices related with kidnappings and extortion.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) And here in a giant room that looks like NASA, more agents track hundreds of surveillance sites around the country. But on day one, all that expertise coughed up only this one piece of very bad news. The people who grabbed Eduardo, they were almost certainly, said the police, part of a fringe Marxist political group called the EPR. One detail was striking from the beginning. Left on Eduardo's car seat was a brand-new hammer. Was it the weapon used in the attack or something else?

(People working at computers; Jeep; men with faces covered and carrying weapons; hammer in vehicle)

Ms. VALSECA: (Voiceover) I found out that it was actually a calling card.

(Hammer in vehicle)

Ms. VALSECA: And that that's not unusual, and that this group always leaves behind a hammer. Which really gave me the creeps.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Jayne's agent considered the evidence and offered a dismal prediction.

(Photo of Jayne and Eduardo)

Ms. VALSECA: `You need to brace yourself and pace yourself because this is not going to be over in 24 hours like you like. As a matter of fact, this is not a matter of days or weeks.

(Voiceover) `Based on previous experience with this particular group, this is going to be months, if you're lucky.'

(EPR members)

MORRISON: What was it like to hear that?

Ms. VALSECA: I thought I was going to go crazy. I thought for sure I'd have a nervous breakdown right then and there.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Jayne's 12-year-old, Fernando, looked on, helpless.


FERNANDO: She just had this face. I can't describe it. It was terrible. It looked like a dead person. I was just so scared. And I put my bed and my brother's bed together and I slept with him.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) What was it like going to bed that first night?


Ms. VALSECA: (Voiceover) There was no going to bed. I couldn't--I couldn't even eat. Where was my husband? What kind of conditions was he in? How's he being treated? Was he even alive?


Ms. VALSECA: How do you sleep? There was no way.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) In historic San Miguel, though Eduardo was a prominent local citizen, life went on as if nothing had happened. Even though he'd been a known anti-poverty activist, a panelist on a local TV show. In fact, this is a recording of the very broadcast aired the night before he was taken. This is the host of the show, and a co-owner of the TV station, Lucy Nunez. Today she's the mayor of San Miguel. But what was she able to do to free Eduardo or find his kidnappers?

(San Miguel de Allende; excerpt from television program)

MORRISON: How often was it reported on television or radio?

Mayor LUCY NUNEZ: No, we never said anything.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) A request, she said, from the federal police.

(People at television studio)

Mayor NUNEZ: They said, `No comments in the radio station, no comments on the channel because we don't want these people to be afraid or whatever and they could do something to Eduardo.' So it was like, psht, mouth closed, like everybody was acting that--as if nothing was happening.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Everybody, perhaps, but Jayne, whose need for information was making her crazy. Remember, the kidnapper said, `Go home, you'll get an e-mail with our demands.' But on day one, there was no e-mail, nor on day two, nor three, nor day four. And then, after five full days and nights of sleepless torture, Jayne turned on her computer and read the news.

(Jayne at computer; Jayne sitting on bed; Jayne at computer; e-mail)

Ms. VALSECA: (Reading) "We hope that the senora has arrived well to her house. For the liberation of Eduardo, we are demanding the amount of $8 million US."

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Eight million! Send the money, said the e-mail, in US currency, $100 bills.

(Jayne; e-mail)

Ms. VALSECA: Now I'm thinking that they're just going to kill him because I didn't have that kind of cash.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) But remember what happened to that other woman's husband when she told kidnappers she couldn't meet their demands?

(Photo of man and woman)

Woman #2: They cut the finger and they send us the finger.

MORRISON: Wealth is relative, of course, and can often be an illusion. Anybody familiar with the the idyllic ranch here outside San Miguel, anybody who'd heard about Eduardo, scion of the famous publishing empire, might quite reasonably have assumed he was among Mexico's super rich. But that would be a mistake. It was the mistake the kidnappers made, a mistake that was about to become Jayne's very serious practical problem.

Ms. VALSECA: I didn't have access to anything, really, beyond our--what was in our checking account.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) The fact of the matter was the Valsecas were house poor. They'd put everything they had into the ranch. And at recession prices, even if she could sell it, she'd get a small fraction of eight million. There in the dining room, Jayne showed the e-mail to her AFI agent and realized he was not surprised.

(Ranch; donkey; ranch sign; fountains; buildings; dining room)

Ms. VALSECA: `You know, Jayne, you have to realize that this is the way this works. You're going to be learning the ropes here. They hope to get that amount, but this is where we start negotiating.'

MORRISON: (Voiceover) The kidnappers set the rules. Jayne must respond to their e-mails in the want ad section of a specific newspaper. Her first ad, they demanded, would go in the animals and pet section and read, "Buy a chow chow dog Austin, vaccinated with complete pedigree, 8,000 pesos." Meaning, of course, $8 million to buy back Eduardo.

(Men with weapons; person selling newspaper; newspaper door; newspaper; photo of Eduardo)

MORRISON: They started out at eight million.

Ms. VALSECA: Mm-hmm.

MORRISON: What do you respond?

Ms. VALSECA: It basically went out saying, `We're very concerned for the puppy's well-being. We don't want any harm to come to him' mixed into the words.

(Voiceover) And, `Your request is beyond our economic possibilities.'

(Want ads)

MORRISON: Just that?

Ms. VALSECA: Mm-hmm.

MORRISON: And then waited?

Ms. VALSECA: And then waited.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Coming up, at last, word from her husband, harrowing photos and a heartbreaking phone call.

(Jayne; photo of Eduardo; Jayne; telephone)

Ms. VALSECA: And I told him how much I loved him and that I would do anything to get him back, and the money didn't matter.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) What were they doing to the man she loved? When DATELINE continues.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Life at Jayne and Eduardo's ranch was divided now into the joyous before and the somber after. The kidnapping of Eduardo Valseca brought with it an unrelieved trauma. Soon all the children understood it was no business trip their father had taken. Within hours, the word spread, was whispered around the school, around the neighborhood, around the town. Jayne, still in shock, tried to keep life normal.

(Outside ranch; children playing; Jayne playing with child; outside ranch; swingset; San Miguel de Allende; empty classroom; Jayne)

Ms. VALSECA: (In front of class) But what a charro is is more than just someone who rides horses.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Even helping her children's teachers at school as if everything was just the same.

Woman #1: She was very bad inside because we know her, and she was suffering. But she was trying to be OK with--in front of the children.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Jayne and her federal police adviser dutifully placed those bizarre want ads saying they didn't have the eight million US ransom. And the response? A few weeks into the ordeal, Eduardo's kidnappers turned up the pressure. They began including in their untraceable e-mails letters from Eduardo himself, and what he wrote in those letters was awful. "I'm suffering more than I can manage. They beat me. They tie me up. I'm naked. I haven't eaten. I'm going crazy. I can't handle this torture anymore."

(Dining room; newspapers; typing on keyboard; Jayne at computer; letter)

Ms. VALSECA: It was horrible. There was something about seeing his handwriting. And the way he described it, it just destroyed me, broke my heart. That was the first time I had to take a tranquilizer.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) But there was more and it was worse. The letter took an accusing turn. "Our children are going to know that by not paying money you left me to die."

(Jayne at computer; letter)

MORRISON: `You left me to die in a frightening way, and our children will know that you did that.'

Ms. VALSECA: Mm-hmm. Right.

MORRISON: `And I would have gotten you out already if it had been you.'

Ms. VALSECA: Right.

MORRISON: What's a...

Ms. VALSECA: Even in the worst possible situation, I knew that some of those things did not come from him, that he was writing what he was told to write. That was very clear to me.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) She was desperate. All she had was a household checking account. They'd put the cars, the ranch, the savings accounts in Eduardo's name. Try as she might, she couldn't touch it.

(Jayne in garden; ranch; Jayne)

Ms. VALSECA: And I felt so helpless. I wanted to do something. I wanted to take him out of that hole and...

MORRISON: (Voiceover) So she began selling things. First to go, the Spanish horses Eduardo loved so much, sold for a fraction of their value.

(Jayne; Eduardo riding horse)

Ms. VALSECA: We had lots of rabbits and so I started selling rabbits.

(Voiceover) I sold sheep. I sold machinery. Everything I could sell, I sold.

(Rabbits; Fernando and sheep; farm machinery)

MORRISON: All at fire sale prices?

Ms. VALSECA: Mm-hmm.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) All of it made hardly a dent. They wanted eight million. She raised 20,000. In her ad she begged the kidnappers to understand she would never have the millions they wanted. They retaliated.

(Jayne walking; newspaper; Eduardo; keyboard)

Ms. VALSECA: They had started saying in their e-mails to me that if I didn't come up with the money on a certain date that they were going to start cutting off his fingers.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) And when Jayne didn't, couldn't pay, the answer was swift.

(Jayne; hands and keyboard)

Ms. VALSECA: It said that I'd been fooling around enough, and that Eduardo had sent me a package.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) She was horrified. Was it his finger? The federal agent, afraid for Jayne's safety, sent someone else to follow the kidnappers' directions to the buried package wrapped in plastic, and it was not severed fingers. It was a sheaf of IOUs signed by Eduardo. With these, wrote the kidnappers, Jayne could get a loan for the ransom.

(Photo of Eduardo; road; fence and fields by side of road; IOU; Jayne walking)

Ms. VALSECA: I was supposed to now use to go to people to hopefully be more successful in raising funds that way.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Oh, she tried, but local businessmen dismissed the IOUs as likely forgeries. Summer passed, and then October, four months into his captivity, another e-mail with a letter from Eduardo. They'd injected him with AIDS-tainted blood, he wrote. And then his words turned ugly, like a man she didn't know. "Who are you really?" he wrote. "I never thought you could be this cruel and stubborn and such a bitch. When the hell are you going to pay?" The words, she felt sure, were not his, but the torture, the daily horrors, she could only imagine. Thanksgiving approached. The children pulled out old home videos and huddled in their mother's bed.

(San Miguel; bee; foliage in wind; sunset; city at night; syringe; photo of Eduardo; letter; Jayne by fireplace; Eduardo and children)

EMILIANO: (Home video) Foul ball!

Mr. VALSECA: (Home video) Foul ball!

Ms. VALSECA: (Voiceover) For along time, the kids watched it very single day after school. And sometimes, when they weren't around, I'd go in and just watch the part where he blew me the kiss and said `I love you,' again and again.

(Jayne watching home video; Eduardo blowing kiss)

Ms. VALSECA: (Home video) I love you.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) And then the next e-mail arrived and a photo was attached: Eduardo crumpled in a corner, dotted with dried blood. It was November, five months into the ordeal, when the kidnappers seemed to tire of the game. The e-mail, "Eduardo is going to receive his first gunshot in his left leg unless there is a change in the total amount offered to seven figures." It wasn't a bluff. A photo followed with bloody proof.

(Photo of Eduardo in captivity; San Miguel from distance; Jayne at computer; e-mail; Jayne at computer; photo of Eduardo)

Ms. VALSECA: I snapped that day. I couldn't cry. I didn't react.

MORRISON: Did you see these photographs of Eduardo?

Ms. VALSECA: I told my agent that he needed to start being my filter, that I would not be reading anymore letters and I would not look at any photographs if he wanted me to get through this and get through this sane. So that was the deal.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Two weeks later they shot Eduardo again, this time in an arm.

(Photo of Eduardo)

Unidentified Woman #4: (On phone) (Foreign language spoken)

MORRISON: (Voiceover) To make matters worse, the newspaper, her only way of communicating with her husband's tormentors, had become suspicious and refused to take more ads.

(Newspaper office; woman working with computer)

Ms. VALSECA: And I had to communicate what was happening to the kidnappers because if they didn't let me place at least one last ad, it would look like I had lost interest and I was no longer communicating. I had to now beg the woman on the phone to please allow me to place one more and then I would never do it again.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) The negotiation switched to another paper. But then the phone calls began.

(Newspaper; telephone)

Ms. VALSECA: I thought it would be someone disguising their voice, and that's what I had been trained for.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) The agent had warned her it might happen, had even prepared dialogue for her to memorize, and kept this erase board handy so he could prompt her. But it wasn't the kidnappers who got on the phone.

(Jayne sitting at table; erase board; telephone)

Ms. VALSECA: I was shaking. I didn't--I didn't know what to do.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) It was Eduardo, but the things he said, this could not be the man she loved. But it was.

(Eduardo; photo of Jayne and Eduardo)

Ms. VALSECA: And then he started calling me names, `You're such a bitch. How could you do this? It's my money.' And it was--it was more of the same that I'd been getting in the letters that they had forced him to write.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) She turned to the young federal agent.

(Dining room; erase board)

Ms. VALSECA: And he told me, `Jayne, you've been preparing for this. You can do this. Just relax.'

MORRISON: It's like the man you're desperate to have home and who you miss horribly...

Ms. VALSECA: Mm-hmm.

MORRISON: on the phone with you. You're listening to his voice and you find you're kind of arguing with this voice.

Ms. VALSECA: It was absolutely bizarre. And it was--we were both playing a role. After I answered the immediate questions and got the information that I wanted to make sure that they heard, which was very important to save his life. Then I said--I changed my tone and in came me. I told him how much I loved him and how much his kids missed him, and that I would do anything to get him back, and that the money didn't matter. I would give everything I could. And then you--I could hear his tone change completely, and it--and it was the real him. He told me he loved me, too, and then they hung up on him.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) The phone calls were untraceable, the kidnappers' demands unrelenting, the psychological pressure excruciating. A joyless Christmas arrived, New Year's. How long before they killed him?

(Eduardo and children; Jayne; Valseca family by Christmas tree; Eduardo blowing kiss)

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Coming up, a new demand, a new sign of hope.

(Pay phone)

Ms. VALSECA: He was instructed to go down a dark alley at a specific spot.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) It was finally time to spring into action, when The Desperate Hours continues.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Gossipers in the tonier neighborhoods of lovely San Miguel de Allende chewed warily on the story that made the rounds. Eduardo Valseca kidnapped? Surely Mexico's kidnapping epidemic hadn't spread to this famously safe retreat? No, it must have been some vicious payback, something to do with Eduardo himself. And even friends like the soon-to-be mayor, Lucy Nunez, assumed Eduardo was dead.

(Streets of San Miguel de Allende; Nunez walking)

Mayor NUNEZ: I think everybody thought that.


Mayor NUNEZ: You're watching the television that people has been kidnapped in three or four days, or maybe in a month or two, but this was two, three, four, five, seven.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Yes, seven months. For most of that time, the kidnappers refused to budge from their demand for a ransom of close to eight million US. And when Jayne went into town to beg their friends for loans, money to secure his release, she watched their eyes glaze over.

(Clock tower; gate; streets of San Miguel de Allende; Jayne on street)

Ms. VALSECA: My friends would say things to me like, `Oh, Jayne, I'm so sorry about Eduardo. We liked him so much,' and speak about him in the past tense as if he were dead.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Even on the playground, classmates told Jayne's children to give up hope.

(Morrison and Jayne sitting on bench)

Ms. VALSECA: The little kids would go up to my children and say things like, `Oh, I heard your daddy's dead, that they found him in a--in a plastic bag in the Park de Juarez.'

MORRISON: (Voiceover) And then Jayne would turn on her computer to find messages from a man barely hanging on. "I need you like never before. Help me. Be compassionate toward me. I can't take it anymore." But now, more than half a year in, suddenly something new. The kidnappers demands dropped into the mid-six figures. That was money she might be able to borrow from some well-heeled friend.

(Jayne on computer; excerpts from letters; Jayne on computer)

Ms. VALSECA: So I started asking people, and some people would tell me, `Yeah, sure call me on such-and-such a date,' but then I wouldn't get a--they wouldn't answer my calls or return my messages.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Lots of people, she discovered, didn't want to get involved.

(Jayne drinking)

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Why?

(Jayne drinking)

Ms. VALSECA: Well, that they somehow, by helping me, they would expose themselves to this sort of a thing somehow.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) At the ranch, Eduardo's grown children from an earlier marriage, desperate also, did everything they could to help, but they didn't have that kind of money. And so they felt very alone in their little family circle as they tried to keep hope going at the ranch.

(Photo of Eduardo and children; ranch sign; gravel road; lone tree)

Unidentified Woman #5: (Videotape) I want you to look at the camera and give a message to your daddy because he's going to see this when he gets back.

EMILIANO: (Videotape) That I love him so much and he's the best dad in the whole wide world, and I know he's coming back soon.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) And then, quite literally in the depths of their despair, something completely unexpected. Two individuals whom Jayne had not approached for loans went to her separately and wrote big checks. Both declined Jayne's offers of guarantees or collateral. Both had a single condition: that their identities be kept secret. Which is how a new flurry of negotiations began with the kidnappers, and Jayne finally received the e-mail she'd worked so hard to get. "We have a deal," it read. "Be ready to deliver the money." The final amount, at the request of the family and police, was withheld, a fraction of the original demand, but it had to be in US $100 bills. And it had to be done in secret. In the bank, only the manager knew what Jayne was doing.

(Jayne on street; streets of San Miguel de Allende; Jayne on computer; excerpts from e-mails; Jayne on computer; $100 bills; bank exterior; Jayne entering bank)

Ms. VALSECA: I had to go in and count it in a back room and make sure that everything was all in order.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Then she called on her acting skills, stuffed down her anxiety and walked out of the bank.

(Jayne on bench with bag)

Ms. VALSECA: A couple people recognized me. This is a small town. Everyone knows you.


Ms. VALSECA: So I stopped and talked to people, and even put the bag down on the floor between my feet as if it was a yoga bag. I felt like I was stuck in a movie that I couldn't get out of.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) The kidnappers wanted a family member to make the drop. The federal agent said absolutely not, that would only invite a hostage exchange.

(Jayne on street)

Ms. VALSECA: So I went to two of our employees that had been with us for over 10 years, and they said, without hesitation, absolutely.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) The kidnappers agreed to the substitute. Jayne drove those employees, two brothers, to Mexico City, four hours on country highways, and then followed very precise directions.

(Driving along gravel road, street, highway; statue)

MORRISON: What was about to happen in this great city, were it to happen to someone else, would make a fine plot for a suspense flick in some Saturday night cineplex. But this was Jayne it was happening to, and she could have no idea, as she came here with her satchel full of money, whether she was going to free her husband or walk into a trap.

(Voiceover) Were the kidnappers watching her as she checked the brothers into the hotel they specified? Was she now in danger? She felt an itch in her back as she drove through the gargantuan metropolis--no incident--and returned to San Miguel, where she put a doctor and psychologist on standby and called a charter service. Might need a helicopter. And silence. She demanded proof that Eduardo was still alive. She got, in return, a heart-stopping photo. It was him, all right. He must be alive. He was holding that day's newspaper. But the once robust, youthful Eduardo was now a gaunt, emaciated stranger. In their Mexico City hotel, the brothers waited with the bag of money. Two days, no word. And then finally an e-mail: "The men you chose have to leave the hotel at 5 PM." They were to wear summer clothes, even though it was winter. They must mark the letter T on their car with duct tape. There could be no weapons, no cell phones. Any hint of the federal police and the deal was off.

(Hotel exterior; hotel room; Jayne's eyes; traffic; Jayne at fireplace; Jayne on computer; photo of Eduardo; hotel room; phone; clock with time passing; e-mail with excerpts; people on street; T taped onto car door; gun; cell phone; federal police)

MORRISON: (Voiceover) The two brothers were ordered to a fried chicken place blocks from the hotel. There'd be a note taped to the pay phone. They found from restaurant to convenience store to restaurant, each stop with a note on a pay phone, a map to the next location. For it. It was directions to the next stop. On it went, a macabre scavenger hunt hours they drove the giant city.

(Store exterior; KFC sign; pay phone; streets at night; speedometer; streets at night; KFC; Oxxo sign; McDonald's sign; traffic at night)

Ms. VALSECA: In the final note, on the inside the note said, `This is a photograph. Make sure that the person that meets you at the next destination has the missing piece.'

MORRISON: (Voiceover) It was the proof of life photo, with a hole where Eduardo's face should be.

(Photo of Eduardo)

Ms. VALSECA: He was instructed to go down a dark alley at a specific spot and meet this person, who would have the other piece of the photograph.

MORRISON: Now the brothers understood it was at an end, and they followed the kidnappers' directions with absolute precision. There were eyes on them. They knew it. They pulled up to the end of an alley as they'd been ordered. One of the brothers picked up the bag of money, opened the door, got out of the car, walked down the alley and, to the remaining brother's horror, disappeared.

(Voiceover) There, in his cold fear and his car in the dark, he waited. And minutes ticked into hours. It was a trap. His brother was taken. Later, Jayne would learn that a strange car hovered nearby, as if to guard the exchange. It was a police car. Coming up...

(Headlights in dark; car dashboard; moon; alley; headlights in dark; police lights)

MORRISON: You've got no employee. You've got no husband. You've got no money.

(Voiceover) Seven months of heartbreak, and now she was out of options. But Jayne's world was about to change again with a quiet stranger at the door, when DATELINE continues.

(Jayne; house and surrounding countryside; Jayne; door opening; DATELINE graphic)


MORRISON: (Voiceover) At the Valseca ranch house in San Miguel de Allende, Jayne and her federal agent huddled around the dining room table and waited. Minutes passed, an eternity. The tension in the room became unbearable.

(Exterior of house at night; dining room table in dark; Jayne; dining room table in dark)

MORRISON: Something was wrong. She'd driven the couriers to Mexico City. She had paid the ransom. She'd put a helicopter on standby. She had done everything they asked her to do, and no phone call. No message. No Eduardo.

(Voiceover) Then, finally, one of the two brothers Jayne had sent to drop the ransom made contact. He was still sitting in his car at the mouth of that dark road. He was terrified. His brother had disappeared into the dark, holding on to the sack full of hundred dollar bills. He hadn't come back. And some kind of police car was hovering around. But whoever was in the car did not behave like police. Something was wrong.

(Traffic at night; alleyway; headlight; darkness; alleyway; police vehicle; headlights)

Ms. VALSECA: We had his younger brother wait for him at that same spot half the night, and we got more and more nervous as every minute ticked by. Finally, the AFI agent told the younger brother of the two, who had gotten left behind, to please go back to the hotel room and stay by the phone.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) The rest of that night and all the next day, Jayne, the AFI agent and the young man in the hotel room in Mexico City watched the phone, willing it to ring. It did not.

(Dining room table at night; hotel room; phone)

Ms. VALSECA: It took about 24 hours, and then I got an e-mail. It said, in a cynical way, `We have the person you sent with the money. We've counted the money, it's all there, in unmarked bills as we had requested.'

MORRISON: (Voiceover) But now, said the kidnappers, now they were holding Jayne's employee and would keep holding him so that when they released Eduardo, he and Jayne would have to cough up even more money to get that man back.

(Alleyway; headlights; car at night; Eduardo; hands typing)

MORRISON: Well, wait a minute. That point, now you've got no employee, you've got no husband, you've got no money.

Ms. VALSECA: But that wasn't enough for them. These people not only want everything that you have, everything that you can sell, everything that you can get a loan for, they want a--want to wipe you out. They have no problem with that. That's exactly what they want, and beat you up and teach you--treat you like you are the criminal all along.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) No one, not even the seasoned federal AFI agent, predicted the kidnappers would take the money and the man who delivered it. That agent was by now practically a member of the family. He'd befriended the employees chosen to go to Mexico City with the money. He'd been the cool one who kept Jayne going through her months of crisis, but now he left the room, stunned.

(Darkness; lights; tree branches; dining room table at night; person carrying things at night; Jayne; dining room table at night)

Ms. VALSECA: My stepson came into the house shortly after. He found our AFI agent crying in the back alley.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) They had failed. The kidnappers had every dollar it took Jayne seven months to gather, and now they kidnapped Jayne's employee. But they hadn't released Eduardo. Had they killed him after all? And if not, where was he? The kidnappers promised Eduardo's release 48 hours after the drop. There was no word, no call. Nothing to suggest the kidnappers had or would make good on their claim. And here at the ranch, there was a family to care for. Life had to go on. Two days after the ransom drop, in a sad, distracted ceremony, they prepared a cake to mark Fernando's 13th birthday.

(Moon; fountain at night; Jayne; photo of Eduardo; streets of San Miguel de Allende; phone; ranch sign; water falling; people in kitchen; Fernando blowing out candle)

FERNANDO: I blew--lit--the candles out, and I remember thinking...

(Voiceover) `I wish for my dad to come back.

(Fernando blowing out candle)

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Something like routine resumed, routine in limbo on autopilot. There were small teeth to brush, bedtime stories to read, breakfast to prepare. It was the morning after Fernando's birthday wish. She was in the kitchen.

(Trees; child on scooter; child with dog; children with tricycle; children in yard; child and dog; children around fire; child eating biscuits; Jayne in kitchen)

Ms. VALSECA: And as I'm clearing the dishes, someone walked by. It was very quick, and it was someone who looked very thin and frail and very, very old, and had a baseball cap--fluorescent yellow baseball cap on, dark clothing.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) She knew the kidnappers had been watching the house. Was the stranger one of them? Coming up...

(Bird in sky; train tracks)

Ms. VALSECA: I'm fumbling for the keys to open the front door to go see who this person is...

(Voiceover) ...and as I'm trying to get the door open, I look up.

(Door opening)

Ms. VALSECA: I don't think anything could've prepared me for what I saw.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) When The Desperate Hours continues.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) It was her 16th winter in Mexico. Eduardo had been gone seven and one half months. She'd sold what she could, sent the money, played her hand, and still didn't know. Had they murdered the love of her life after all? Had they left her a single mother? Was everything happy and pure now gone? It was morning in the kitchen. Jayne stared out the back door of the ranch house in San Miguel. And that's when she saw it. There was a skeleton out there, a walking dead man. It took a moment to register. It was Eduardo, all but unrecognizable, a suddenly old man, emaciated, skin and bones. She opened the door.

(Jayne in garden; photo of Jayne and Eduardo; empty room; alley; Jayne at window; Eduardo and children; Jayne in kitchen; door; Jayne going to door; photo of Eduardo)

Ms. VALSECA: I pulled him into me and put my arms around him, and he just felt so cold. It was--it was literally as if he was already dead. And I just started kissing him all over his cheeks. He could barely talk. He just whispered, and told me, `I love you so much.'

MORRISON: (Voiceover) It was as if his freedom had come at the last possible moment before death. Earlier, Jayne had put doctors and a psychologist on standby for just such a moment as this. He refused them. And there, by the door, as she held him in her arms, he begged her for her special banana pancakes.

(Ranch sign; Jayne near corn; door; Jayne cooking)

Ms. VALSECA: He said, `When I was trying to dream about what it could be like coming back, if I ever was able to, I could always see you standing there at the stove, could see you from the back making my food.'

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Jayne tried to cushion the children from the shock of what they're about to see.


Ms. VALSECA: (Voiceover) So I brought him his bandanna and his hat and a sweater to try to cover up his bones.


MORRISON: (Voiceover) It was the morning after Fernando made his wish over his birthday cake for this very thing to happen.

(Photo of Fernando and birthday cake)

FERNANDO: I just ran and gave him a hug, and he didn't have any meat on him at all. It was just like if I was grabbing his carcass.


(Voiceover) And there he stayed, as the old Eduardo crept back into that cadaverous body, surrounded by his children, his plates of food and the woman who fought for him every minute of those months, who cried for him, who saved his life, always Jayne.

(Photo of Eduardo; children; person eating; Jayne drinking; Jayne in yard)

Ms. VALSECA: (Voiceover) He followed me around a lot. He wouldn't let me out of his sight, not even to use the rest room.


Ms. VALSECA: He wanted to follow me everywhere.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) And here he is now, restored.


Mr. VALSECA: I hadn't seen myself in a mirror for seven and a half months.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Eduardo Garcia Valseca uses an expression when he talks about life after captivity. `I'm living extra hours.' But in those first hours of freedom, he found it hard to stand. He could barely walk. He had lost half his body weight, weighed barely 80 pounds,and could not believe how truly awful he looked.

(Eduardo and other men; Jayne, Eduardo; photo of Eduardo)

Mr. VALSECA: The first time that I saw myself against the mirror, and I lifted my T-shirt, I pull it back on immediately. I couldn't believe I looked like pure bones and skin. I just--it was too much.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Of course, given what he'd been through, he probably shouldn't have survived at all. The doctor who finally examined him noted late stage severe starvation, liver damage, concussion, three broken ribs and severe stomach infections. But though the kidnappers told him they'd injected him with tainted blood, he did not have HIV or AIDS. He hobbled around, bent and brittle, had to be supported up or down the stairs.

(Eduardo and others; photo of Eduardo; syringe; photo of Eduardo)

Mr. VALSECA: It's like they sucked the life out of me. They just took everything away from me.

MORRISON: Dead, in a way. Alive, but dead.

Mr. VALSECA: Exactly. Exactly.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) And yet, within those first hours and days of freedom...


Ms. VALSECA: He was already laughing, and it was if, drip by drip, life was coming back into this skeleton.

MORRISON: Kind of like the first day of the rest of your life.

Ms. VALSECA: Completely.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) And then she'd see a cloud on his face, or sense the torment in his dreams at night. He'd suddenly be haunted again.

(Jayne; lightbulb glimpsed through curtain)

Ms. VALSECA: (Voiceover) He would wake up repeatedly all night and just reach over and touch me just to make sure that it was really true...

(Tousled bed)

Ms. VALSECA: ...that I was there and that he wasn't dreaming.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) At night she'd hear him stirring and he'd fall out of bed.

(Crescent moon; person at window; bed)

Mr. VALSECA: I didn't remember that I was sleeping on a bed. And still, I have these flashbacks. I'm not sure if I'm dreaming, and is this true, that I'm out, or is this a reflection of my thoughts?

MORRISON: (Voiceover) And then morning would come, and with it the living nightmare. It wasn't over. The kidnappers still held their employee, were still threatening the whole family with death. And Eduardo needed to tell Jayne, as he's about to tell us, the real and shocking story.

(Hillside; bells; building; alley at dark; Eduardo and children; Eduardo; lightbulb; simulation of Eduardo's prison)

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Coming up, more than seven months in hell. Exactly what he had endured?

(Door opening; dates crossed off; Eduardo in cell; photo of handcuffed hands)

MORRISON: This is unbelievable. How do you keep your sanity?

(Voiceover) When DATELINE continues.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Eduardo Valseca is a charming and outgoing man...

(Eduardo and Jayne on videotape)

Mr. VALSECA: (Videotape) Hi.

Ms. VALSECA: (Videotape) Happy New Year!

Mr. VALSECA: (Videotape) Happy New Year!

Ms. VALSECA: (Videotape) Do you have a message for us in the year 2000?

Mr. VALSECA: (Videotape) (Unintelligible)...

MORRISON: (Voiceover) ...with a ready laugh, an infectious zest for life. How, we wondered, given what you're about to hear, is that still possible? He calls it the box.

(Eduardo on videotape; Eduardo and children; replica of Eduardo's prison)

MORRISON: (Voiceover) So this is exactly the same size?

(Door opening)

Mr. VALSECA: (Voiceover) Exactly.

(People entering room)

MORRISON: (Voiceover) To get a sense of his bizarre prison cell, we built a replica. This is a precise copy of the miserable container in which Eduardo was held for seven and one-half months. Here's where the air goes in. Here's where it's pumped out.

(Morrison and Eduardo approaching replica of Eduardo's prison; air pipes)

MORRISON: I--you know, I wouldn't fit in this damn thing.

Mr. VALSECA: No, not at all.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Just like the original, the inside surfaces are covered in dark, abrasive rug, a single bulb in the ceiling, an electronic eye watching. The box is only slightly wider than our own shoulders, barely long enough to lie down in.

(Interior of box; lightbulb; webcam; interior of box; Morrison and Eduardo in box)

MORRISON: This is unbelievable. How do you keep your sanity?

Mr. VALSECA: When I first arrived here and I repeat myself over and over and over, `Calm your mind down.'

MORRISON: (Voiceover) When he first came here. That was the violent ambush in the Jeep outside the school, then the bloody, semi-conscious, hooded ride that followed, a blind hustle into a building, up a stairwell on someone's shoulder. The stripping of all his clothes, the sudden confinement in a box.

(Jeep on road; glass breaking; Eduardo; running board; Jeep driving; climbing stairs; prison recreation)

Mr. VALSECA: Since the first minute, that's the only thing I ever saw, just the box.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Then the vicious, daily beatings and the rules. Rule one, no talking, ever. Communication was by handwritten note. The kidnappers would signal when they wanted to enter the box.

(Shadows on wall; lightbulb; pencil writing; webcam's view seen on laptop)

Mr. VALSECA: Always twice. Always like that.

MORRISON: And that was your signal to do what?

Mr. VALSECA: To put a pillowcase over my head and immediately go like I am right now, I put my head against the wall. Always.

MORRISON: So you see--you'd never see their faces?

Mr. VALSECA: Never ever ever.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) They watched him on the webcam, kept him naked, fed him an occasional piece of fruit or a salad. A small bucket served as his toilet. It was rarely emptied. His kidnappers kept the light burning day and night, blasted the inside of the box with high volume music.

(Webcam; photo of Eduardo with newspaper; bucket; lightbulb)

Mr. VALSECA: I say, `Please, just turn off the music just once. Please.' They say, `If we turn off the music and you're able to hear what we talk about, then we have to kill you.'

MORRISON: How loud was this music?

Mr. VALSECA: Very loud. To the point that I lost 15 percent of my hearing on the right side.

(Voiceover) It was a combination of the loud music and the beating of my head.

(Exterior of box)

Mr. VALSECA: So, you know, when sometimes I went like this...(grabs head)...after they left the room? I couldn't feel the shape of my head anymore. It was full of bumps.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) The beatings, said Eduardo, intensified when he was ordered to write Jayne a new letter, begging her to pay.

(Shadows on wall; handwritten note)

Mr. VALSECA: And he would hit me so hard for so long that I think he only stop when he run out of energy. He would go on and on and on and on. He broke my bones and all that, just kicking me.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) In the days after he was taken from the Jeep, he prayed with some confidence that his confinement would be brief. He wrote notes to his captors saying he wasn't the wealthy man they'd taken him to be. Surely, he thought, they'd check and discover that.

(Jeep on road; box interior; pencil writing)

Mr. VALSECA: I had nothing but high hopes. I thought, `This is my last week.' I really believe in my head, `This is it. Next week, I'm getting out of this box.'

MORRISON: (Voiceover) But he didn't get out. Not for a minute, not for a second. He secretly marked off the passing days on saved scraps of paper. Slowly he starved. If they gave him a bit of chicken, he'd eat the bone, as well; an egg, he'd eat the shell. And the tortures intensified. The kidnappers sent him notes telling him Jayne didn't care about him, had moved another man into the ranch to live with her, and in the endless hours of coffinlike solitude, doubts ate at his mind.

(Interior of box; exterior of box; dates written on paper; photos of Eduardo; shadows on wall; crumpled notes; photo of Jayne, Eduardo and Fernando; interior of box; Eduardo curled up)

Mr. VALSECA: (Voiceover) I start feeling mixed feelings. I thought maybe she's feeling that they going to kill me anyway, and they going to take the little bit of money that we had.


MORRISON: (Voiceover) They forced him to write those accusing letters to Jayne, he said, and when she still didn't pay, they gave him a note announcing they would shoot him.

(Exterior of box; handwritten note; scraps of paper)

Mr. VALSECA: (Voiceover) They came in, they covered my face, they handcuff me, they put me face down on the floor. So they put the gun right on my leg and they shot me right there, and the pain is tremendous.

(Photo of Eduardo's eyes taped; photo of handcuffed hands; gun firing; photo of Eduardo)

Mr. VALSECA: Is like a bomb coming from inside of your body out.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Then, two weeks later, again the announcement in advance, `You will be shot.'

(Morrison and Eduardo in box recreation; pencil writing; crumpled paper)

Mr. VALSECA: And now he shot me in the left arm and--right here.

(Voiceover) And again he didn't want to shoot the bone, so he went from here and it came out on the other side.

(Photo of gunshot wound)

Mr. VALSECA: I was not afraid of dying, because I couldn't take it anymore. It was just too much suffering, and you give up. If I had had a piece of glass or if I had had anything, I would have killed myself.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) And so he thought of home, of his wife's banana pancakes. He kept himself going by dreaming of singing with a mariachi band, just like he did at his wedding. He imagined the faces of his children.

(Jayne and child; mariachi band; wedding video)

Mr. VALSECA: (Voiceover) I would hear Fernando saying, `Dad, I miss you.' And I would see Emiliano so confused. I would miss Nayah, seeing those beautiful green eyes.

(Fernando; Emiliano; Nayah)

MORRISON: (Voiceover) He was in his box for a total of 225 days. And then, one morning...

(Exterior of box)

Mr. VALSECA: He put me against this wall with the handcuffs around, and I thought, `This is it. He's going to shoot me.' It was hard. And then I start hearing these sounds, and I didn't know what he was going to do.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) But they didn't shoot him. Instead they shaved him and dressed him and took the proof of life photo Jayne was about to find in her e-mail. It was about 4 AM, he reckons, when they tied the hood back on his head, put him in a car and brought him here. They ordered, `Face the wall.' It was a cemetery wall. Was he to die? Then a voice behind him said, `Start counting. Don't turn round till you hit 200.'

(Exterior of box; photos of Eduardo; highway at night; taillights; car approaching wall; darkness; wall up close)

Mr. VALSECA: So I start counting from one to 200 right here. And...

MORRISON: Did you get all the way to 200?

Mr. VALSECA: Yes, absolutely. Oh, I was so scared, you know, I didn't want to screw it up.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) And then he turned around, and they were gone.

MORRISON: You had been in that box all that time, and here you are standing all alone in the middle of the night under the sky. What was that like?

Mr. VALSECA: I felt the wind and the space.

(Voiceover) And I could see the stars and all those lights so far away. The first time in seven and a half months that I could feel the wind.

(Moon; city lights)


Mr. VALSECA: And I could move my legs and just move away from the wall, and...


Mr. VALSECA: felt really like walking on a different planet.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) In a lunchbox were two boiled eggs, an apple and a few pesos the kidnappers had given him for the trip home. His legs were so weak, he stumbled and fell repeatedly as he hobbled to the nearest highway. He had no idea where he was.

(Lights at night; bus stop)

Mr. VALSECA: (Voiceover) An there was an old man already sitting there waiting for the bus for Mexico City.

(Bus stop)

Mr. VALSECA: And I told him where I was going, Ranchos Los Charcos, and he told me, `This is the right bus.'

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Which is how, early that morning, Eduardo Valseca arrived at his own back door and asked his wife to make banana pancakes. Unmitigated joy, and terror. Terror? Oh, yes. It wasn't over.

(Door opening; Jayne and Eduardo; moon; headlights)

Ms. VALSECA: I couldn't even relish in the moment having my husband back because we were still dealing with these people.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Now, remember, the kidnappers were holding Jayne and Eduardo's employee, the man who'd volunteered to deliver the ransom and, for his trouble, was snatched at the drop site. So now a new round of e-mailed demands began arriving.

(Headlights and car; alley; e-mails)

Ms. VALSECA: We started negotiating. It was like the whole thing all over again.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) But it wasn't quite the same, and thus the terror. The kidnappers promised to kill not just the employee if their demands were not met, they vowed to murder Eduardo and Jayne and Fernando and Emiliano and little Nayah, all of them.

(E-mails; Eduardo walking; Jayne; Fernando; Emiliano; Nayah)

Mr. VALSECA: `We going to kill each one of you, and the little bit of money you have left that you can give us, it's not going to be enough to bury each one of your--the members of your family.'

Ms. VALSECA: It was like...

Mr. VALSECA: So you're still terrified, you know.

Ms. VALSECA: I just couldn't believe it wasn't over.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Jayne and Eduardo traveled to Mexico City to be debriefed by senior officials of the federal police. It was here, after the meeting, when they were suddenly surrounded by men with assault weapons.

(Traffic on highway; Mexico City; skyscraper; police officers)

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Coming up, spirited away. The entire family forced from the home they love. How close was the danger?

(Headlight; gun; Ranchos Los Charcos gate; Eduardo)

Mr. VALSECA: You never know who is informing these people.

(Voiceover) They knew everything about the kids. They knew everything about us.

(Jayne and Eduardo walking)

MORRISON: (Voiceover) When The Desperate Hours continues.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) In Mexico City, Eduardo and Jayne met with senior officials of the federal police, who had many questions about their ordeal and who took the kidnappers' new threats very seriously. `You must leave now,' they were told. Here at police headquarters, they were suddenly surrounded by a protective ring of men with assault weapons. The police hustled them back to the ranch, allowed 48 hours to prepare. And then the son of one of Mexico's great newspaper barons, with Jayne and his family, was escorted out of the land he loved. That kidnapped employee, by the way, the kidnappers simply released him nearly three months later, no ransom at all. By then Jayne and Eduardo and their children had squeezed into what they expected would be a temporary exile, two months or so, at Jayne's mother's house in America. Why just two months? Mostly because federal police assured them they had significant leads. They still insisted they knew the group responsible, a Marxist revolution party called the EPR. And besides, one of the officials who debriefed Eduardo was soon promoted to commissioner, federal police. And hadn't he promised personally that he'd aggressively chase down the abductors? But two months grew to three, then six. No word.

(Traffic; federal police building; Jeep on road; federal police officers; ranch gate; Jayne unpacking; village seen from hilltop; Eduardo; plane flying; headlights in alley; headlight; moon; clubhouse in forest; Eduardo and Jayne; federal policemen on computers; EPR members; federal police on computers; Jayne and Eduardo walking)

Mr. VALSECA: I tried to call different times, the higher officials in Mexico. They have never answered me back, answered my telephone calls.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Eduardo did wonder sometimes if he'd have to be like this man.

(Man walking)

Man #1: Follow-up, what's that?

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Remember him? His daughter was killed by kidnappers. And afterwards, he says, the federal police did nothing. So he closed his business and tracked the criminals down himself and delivered them for trial.

(Man leafing through booklet; photo of woman; man leafing through booklet)

Man #1: I know that's not the way it should be, but it was the only way to do it if I wanted to have justice. Justice is something in Mexico that you won't get if you don't fight for it.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Jayne and Eduardo did what they could to fight for it, too, but after two years had gone by, the conclusion seemed inescapable.

(Jayne and Eduardo on computer)

Ms. VALSECA: When you get pulled into this whole world the authorities in Mexico basically tell you, `Look, you're going to be paying ransom.' You know, it's as if there's no other option. It's as if there--they've given from the beginning, so, `All we can do is hold your hand and help you through the process of coming up with an amount you can pay.'

Mr. VALSECA: It's not right.

Ms. VALSECA: We pay it.

Mr. VALSECA: Next!

Ms. VALSECA: Next!

MORRISON: (Voiceover) We arranged an interview with the commissioner of the federal police, the man who debriefed Eduardo, Facundo Rosas Rosas. The search for the kidnappers is continuing, he said, nonstop.

(Police headquarters; Morrison interviewing Facundo Rosas Rosas; people on computers)

MORRISON: Are you close to an arrest in this case?

Commissioner FACUNDO ROSAS ROSAS: (Through translator) It's a systematic job that does not allow us to give advances as to people being captured. We usually speak after the events have taken case.

MORRISON: The investigation continues?

Commissioner ROSAS: (Through translator) It is a permanent investigation with a systematic focus.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) But there was one crucial piece of information the commissioner did pass on to us, the same thing his officers have been telling Jayne and Eduardo all along. The EPR had taken Eduardo.

(EPR members)

Commissioner ROSAS: (Through translator) Yes, we do have information, precise information.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) National security, he said, prevented him from revealing more than that.

(Morrison interviewing Rosas)

Mr. ALEJANDRO JIMENEZ: (Through translator) I asked for proof. How did they know?

MORRISON: (Voiceover) But Mexican journalist Alejandro Jimenez, a specialist in terror groups and kidnappings, says his contacts inside the EPR assured him repeatedly they would certainly have taken responsibility for kidnapping Eduardo had they done it. But they didn't do it. Still, the federal police told Jimenez...

(Alejandro Jimenez at desk)

Mr. JIMENEZ: (Through translator) That I should forget about the case, that it was a closed case, that he'd paid the ransom, nothing more.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) It was an odd reaction, he said, and to him suspicious.

(Jimenez and others at desks)

Mr. JIMENEZ: (Through translator) Our reflex as Mexican journalists is to suspect. They're blaming a guerrilla group without showing proof. They're hiding something. Police could have been involved or maybe members of the military, which is what tends to happen in high-impact kidnappings.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Up in their temporary American refuge, Jayne and Eduardo were feeling a pull to say something, get involved.

(Jayne and Eduardo)

Ms. VALSECA: Well, you know what? I think that the moment you cower into a corner and keep your mouth shut, you become a part of the problem. So is that the example that I want to give to my kids?

MORRISON: (Voiceover) By now they'd been away two years, and gradually, month by month, the memory of their terror had come to be mixed with a nostalgia for the life they left behind. Which is, in part, why Jayne and Eduardo decided to return, with us, to their beloved ranch, a place to tell their story. It had to be a secret. No one could know they were coming. They could only stay a few days. During the time in America, Eduardo had become convinced someone close to the family must have passed information to the kidnappers before. What if they did it again?

(Jayne and Eduardo eating; wedding videotape; home videos of Valseca family; Ranchos Los Charcos gate; mini waterfall; gate; Jayne, Eduardo, maid; Eduardo eating; Jayne drinking)

Mr. VALSECA: Because you never know who is informing these people.

MORRISON: Of course.

Mr. VALSECA: They knew everything about the kids. They knew everything about us, so anybody could be there telling them, you know, `Here they're back.'

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Bodyguards would come along, too, a strange accessory now, given what a free and happy place the ranch used to be.

(Eduardo and man; front yard; man on parapet with gun)

MORRISON: That first night, though, in your old bed in the house, was that a little weird getting back into that?

Mr. VALSECA: Oh, it was great, I mean, really.

Ms. VALSECA: Well, and I slept well knowing that we had bodyguards.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) It was just as they left it. Their clothes still filled the closets, family portraits decorated their rooms. Even the dogs greeted them as if their forced departure had been yesterday. Eduardo threw himself back at his old job, mending fences, fixing broken bits, checking on a crop. Of course the stables were still empty, his horses gone for ransom. And then an old friend hears Eduardo is home and brings his own horses.

(Jayne opening cupboard; portraits; dogs greeting Jayne; Eduardo walking; Eduardo fixing things; Eduardo near corn; empty stables; Eduardo on horse)

Mr. VALSECA: (Spanish spoken)

MORRISON: (Voiceover) His first ride since leaving the box.

(Eduardo on horse)

Mr. VALSECA: (Spanish spoken)

MORRISON: (Voiceover) And in these moments, they feel finally like they're home again.

(Eduardo on horse)

Mr. VALSECA: Whoa.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) There's a happy reunion at the school Jayne helped found. They lead her around the campus to show off the progress they've made in her absence.

(Jayne and woman; Jayne and others at school)

Ms. VALSECA: Wow! It looks amazing.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) How painful that absence has been. Their trip back to the ranch coincides with Eduardo's 61st birthday. Jayne hastily organizes a fiesta: only close and trusted friends are invited, party food prepared, the favorite charro suit out of the closet. And they, in a magic evening, are transported back into the world they left behind, a world they loved. In those months in the box, Eduardo had stayed sane by dreaming of singing again with mariachi. Tonight, he does.

(Jayne; ranch exterior; Jayne with champagne; caterers; fiesta preparations; Eduardo dressing; fiesta; Eduardo on webcam; Eduardo with mariachi band)

(Eduardo and mariachi band perform)

Mr. VALSECA: It was just wonderful. For Jayne and I, it was just like 100 percent better, to go back to the place and feel happy about it and feel safe about it. It was fantastic.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Was it possible to come back? Could they find a way to feel safe? Could they have all this again? As we interviewed Jayne about that very possibility, the answer quite suddenly began to reveal itself. Coming up...

(Fiesta; mariachi band singing; Jayne and Morrison)

MORRISON: What just happened--just now what happened?

Ms. VALSECA: I just cannot bear it anymore. I want to get far away from here.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) When DATELINE continues.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) The unease, if that's what it was that accompanied Jayne and Eduardo back to their ranch in San Miguel, had vanished. This was home. They were embraced by friends and colleagues, lulled by the peaceful beauty of this place they built from nothing. And it was tugging hard: come back. And then...

(Ranch gate; pillar in distance; Eduardo and men; Jayne and woman; Eduardo on horse; Jayne and others; mural)

MORRISON: What just happened--just now what happened?

Ms. VALSECA: OK, well, Eduardo came through the door with the lawyer and told me that now the entire train has been destroyed on the inside, has been ransacked.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) It was the Pullman car, Eduardo's inheritance from his famous father, the train in which he'd wooed Jayne as they fell in love. He'd brought it to the ranch as a sort of magic shrine to their love and his past. And now somebody had broken in, smashed it up. A warning? A message? And the police?

(Pullman car interior ransacked)

Mr. VALSECA: We call them, they say they couldn't come because they didn't have gasoline. Imagine the answer for a police force to say that they cannot go to the ranch because there is not enough for gasoline.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) And quite suddenly they knew, it was over. Eduardo examined the destruction in the stately old rooms, the broken heirlooms. And Jayne was sucked back into the all-too-familiar well of fear.

(Interior of Pullman car; Eduardo in train; box with "Papa" on it; photo of Eduardo and Jayne)

MORRISON: To love is a risk, as everybody knows. But Jayne unreservedly loved Mexico. She fell hard for a man and his country. She romanced its customs, its people, its extraordinary beauty. It was all perfect to her. What she feels is deeper than setback or ordinary loss. To Jayne it feels like betrayal. It's heartbreak.

Ms. VALSECA: I'm just feeling like that I'm so overwhelmed with the situation that we're living in Mexico today that I just can't stand it. I just cannot bear it anymore. I want to get far away from here.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Neither one had to say it. Their life in Mexico, 16 years of paradise, was done. And now? Life today is altogether new. Their fine big ranch is for sale, their small rental in America a far more humble place, but that, they've discovered, matters not at all. It did matter to them that they paid back those anonymous donors who helped buy Eduardo's freedom. But mostly, it matters to them now that the household celebrates just about everything, especially their own survival.

(Ranch sign; door; statue; gate; trees passing; Jayne sweeping; Eduardo playing with child; Eduardo and Jayne doing yardwork; child on swing; Jayne sweeping; Jayne, Eduardo and child at table)

Ms. VALSECA: If I continue to hold on to this in a negative way, then they just--the criminals just keep on committing a crime against us every day, and I'm not going to let that happen.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Then, finally, after two years of waiting for it, the long-promised phone call from the head of the federal police. Good news from the investigation? Well, no. Nothing to report at all, said the commissioner. No leads. But please, he told Eduardo, don't talk to the media. The kidnappers are still out there, might be dangerous. Advice rejected.

(Cell phone lighting up; federal police symbol; people on computers; rainy street; shoes walking; Eduardo)

MORRISON: You are potentially setting yourself up as a target, however?

Mr. VALSECA: The best way to fight these criminals is to speak about it, to come with solutions. But if you keep quiet, like most people, how you going to come up with a solution?

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Some fellow citizens of San Miguel have expressed discomfort about Eduardo's outspokenness. Eduardo thinks he knows why.

(Streets of San Miguel)

Mr. VALSECA: Some people in--that we know have expressed madness that we shouldn't say anything because affects tourism. So they prefer...

Ms. VALSECA: It will affect the real estate values in San Miguel.

Mr. VALSECA: So they...

Ms. VALSECA: So let's lift the carpet. Let's just sweep the dirt underneath. Sh.

Mr. VALSECA: Because it's better not to say anything, not to scare anybody away.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Has the secrecy lifted a little since Eduardo's friend Lucy Nunez was elected mayor? Last month the chief of police reported that in the last four months there have been two more kidnappings here in relatively safe San Miguel.

(Mexico City; Nunez on street; police vehicles; man with gun; police)

Mr. VALSECA: I just want to raise my kids in a--in a place where you can trust the police, where is--the justice system functions.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) A sentiment, they discovered, which has created a whole other kind of immigration from Mexico, immigration based on fear.

(Flag waving; Eduardo and Jayne)

Ms. VALSECA: I would like to form an organization organizing the people like us who have had to leave Mexico and take refuge in the United States.

MORRISON: I was going to say...

Ms. VALSECA: To provide support.

MORRISON: you think you'd have much company in this?

Ms. VALSECA: Oh, a lot.

Mr. VALSECA: By thousands.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) It was in the box where Eduardo felt it: isolated, starved, beaten, beset by glaring light, deafening noise, the fear of death. It was a revelation, and he hasn't been the same since.

(Exterior of prison recreation; Eduardo in box on webcam; Eduardo)

Mr. VALSECA: Nothing really matters. Material things are nothing.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) It came down finally to her, the woman he saw at the phone booth all those years ago, whom he wooed on his train car, who made a family, saved his life, who, as he sat crumpled in his box, kept him alive and in love.

(Photos of Eduardo and Jayne; Jayne and child; Eduardo, Jayne and child; exterior of prison recreation; photo of Eduardo; photo of Eduardo and Jayne)

Mr. VALSECA: I always knew love is important, but never as important as I know now. So you learn. It changes your life forever, for sure.

MORRISON: (Voiceover) Once they built a paradise, and it was gone in one violent moment on their own country lane. But did it destroy them? Anything but.

(Sunrise; fortress; Jeep on road; Jayne; Eduardo on horse)

Ms. VALSECA: Happiness in the paradise is not a place.

(Voiceover) No matter how small the house, no matter where we are, the most important thing is that we're healthy, that we're alive, that we're a family. And that's what we have.

(Jayne; Eduardo; fiesta)

Ms. VALSECA: What more could I want?

Unidentified Man #3: (Fiesta) Bravo! Ultra! Ultra!