Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Wednesday he has asked Mexico's president to call him in the next 48 hours to discuss the search efforts for the body of an American reportedly shot to death on a border lake.
Perry said he hopes the body has been retrieved by the time he gets the call.
"If not, we're not looking hard enough," he told The Associated Press.
Tiffany Hartley, of Colorado, says her husband, David, was shot by Mexican pirates on Falcon Lake last week as they were returning to the United States on Jet Skis. Falcon Lake is a dammed section of the Rio Grande that has been plagued by pirates who rob boaters and fisherman who wander into Mexican waters. Hartley's death would be the first killing on the lake.
The Mexican Foreign Relations Ministry responded Wednesday with a statement that noted Mexico's "condemnation of any act that endangers the lives of innocent citizens," saying the country "is committed to the investigation of those acts."
The statement said Mexico has been in contact with the U.S. to coordinate the search and recovery of Hartley's body, and that Mexican authorities have "stepped up their actions with the support of specialized personnel, boats and helicopters."
The Hartley family has complained that Mexican authorities are not doing enough to find David Hartley's body.
Tiffany Hartley has said that her husband was shot in the head by three men chasing them in speedboats and that he fell off his Jet Ski and into the lake. His body has not been recovered.
Perry said Mexico needs to use every resource available to find the body and have it returned to U.S. soil. He said Mexican Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Julian Ventura had been accommodating during talks Tuesday.
The statement from Mexico City ran counter to comments by state officials in Tamaulipas, who cast doubt on Tiffany Hartley's story in interviews with the McAllen Monitor newspaper. The district attorney there, Marco Antonio Guerrero Carrixales, told the paper that authorities "are not certain that incident happened the way that they are telling us."
Perry said the couple was sightseeing in Mexico.
"I find it really reprehensible for anyone, U.S. or Mexican, to speak otherwise," he said.
Perry also used the incident to renew his demand that the federal government do more to secure the U.S.-Mexico border as northern Mexico sinks deeper into drug-gang violence. The violence has spread in the last few months from Ciudad Juarez, the epicenter of Mexico's drug war across from El Paso, Texas, to the Mexican side of the Rio Grande Valley, including Tamaulipas state where Hartley reportedly disappeared. Two drug gangs, the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas, are battling for supremacy there and fighting the Mexican military.
"Frankly, these two presidents (Mexican President Felipe Calderon and President Barack Obama) need to get together with their secretaries of state and say, 'What are we going to do about this?'"
U.S. authorities are unable to investigate Hartley's disappearance because it happened in Mexico.
Pam Hartley, David's mother, said family members would be at the lake Wednesday to monitor the search.
"I think the ball is going. Again, how fast, I don't know. We're going to check for ourselves," she said.
She also said she hopes their presence at the lake will help the family heal. "As part of our closure, it's something we need to do," she said.
Democrat Bill White, who is challenging Perry's re-election bid, said responding to an incident after the fact is not enough, and that the governor needs to speak to sheriffs and law enforcement who work along the border to learn and respond to their needs. He said the area needs more sheriffs deputies and more assistance from state troopers.
Perry also said he spoke Tuesday to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's chief of staff and once again made his request for an additional 1,000 National Guard troops on the Texas-Mexico border, a request that has been repeatedly denied."How many more American citizens have to die?" Perry said.
Associated Press writers Katherine Corcoran in Mexico City, Ramit Plushnick-Masti in Houston and Ivan Moreno in Denver contributed to this report.