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Tiffany Hartley Defends Herself Against Accusations

As she held a memorial service for her husband who was allegedly shot dead by pirates on the Mexican side of Texas' Falcon Lake, Tiffany Hartley addressed skeptics on both sides of the border who doubted her story.

"It's hard just to hear it," she told "Good Morning America." "But I can see it from their point of view. I can understand why they might think that, but it's not true. ... I would never even think about hurting my husband.

"I loved him," she said.

The case has gotten so much attention that Texas Gov. Rick Perry is asking Mexican President Filipe Calderon to call him, the Associated Press reported, with assurances that Mexican authorities are searching for David Michael Hartley's body.

Perry told the AP that He says he hopes "within the next 48 hours, that the body has been retrieved. If not, we're not looking hard enough."

Hundreds of mourners gathered in a south Texas church late Tuesday night to remember Hartley.

Mexican Authorities Question Wife's Story

Hartley said she and her husband came under attack from Mexican pirates as they rode their Jet Skis on the Mexican side of Falcon Lake, but Mexican authorities have said there is no evidence of a crime as described by Tiffany Hartley.

Hartley told police the pirates shot her husband in the head. The 30-year-old man's body has not been recovered.

U.S. officials said they're prohibited from entering Mexican waters to search for his body. David Hartley's mother, Pam Hartley, has issued a public plea to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, asking for aid in bringing her son's body home.

"He needs to come home and we're begging the Mexican government, the governor of Texas, President Obama," the man's mother, Pam Hartley, told "Good Morning America" Tuesday.

"To Hillary -- mother to mother -- help me bring my son home, please," she said, crying. "She's a mother, she would know."

Dennis Hartley has said Mexican police aren't doing enough to find his son's body. On Tuesday he told The Associated Press that he believed the Mexican authorities were being paid off by drug cartels.

Couple Disregarded Warnings About Danger

"I don't think anything right now is being done," he told the AP. "I don't think at this time Mexico is really doing anything."

David Hartley was a history buff. Tiffany Hartley, 29, said she and her husband dismissed warnings about crossing into the Mexican side of the lake so they could take pictures of a historic church. She said it had been some months since they had heard reports of pirates being on the lake.

While they were making their way back to the U.S. border, they were approached by three boats of fully armed pirates, she said.

"David and I were racing back to the U.S., and they started shooting," she told "Good Morning America." I looked back, and I saw that David had been shot, and I turned around to go get him."

Under Attacks, Woman Had to Leave Injured Husband Behind

Hartley said she tried as hard as she could to pull her husband onto her own Jet Ski to take him to safety, "but he's a lot bigger than me.

"You can't imagine how awful it was not being able to help him," she said.

Knowing her own life was in jeopardy, Hartley said she was forced to abandon her husband. She took her Jet Ski at top speed back to the U.S. shore and placed a panicked 911 call.

U.S. authorities have searched Falcon Lake on the American side, to no avail.

The state of Texas had warned boaters and fisherman as long ago as April to stay away from the Mexican side of the lake. Since then, the drug wars along the border have gotten more violent and there have been reports of more pirate encounters.

Lake Has Become Pirate's Haven

Falcon Lake, part of the Rio Grande situated directly on the Texas-Mexico border, has recently become a haven for the pirates, and there have been at least five reported run-ins with pirates on the lake so far this year, although this is the first reported case of a death.

"The one thing I dreaded on Falcon Lake has happened," Texas' Zapata County Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez said. "The lake is not secure, the border is not secure because the incident that I dreaded the most has, in fact, happened. We cannot go to Mexico, we cannot recover that body, we cannot conduct an investigation, we have to tell the family we can't do anything about it."

ABC News' Kevin Dolak and Sarah Netter contributed to this report.

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Added: Oct-6-2010 Occurred On: Oct-6-2010
By: Tyrfingr
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Tags: Accusations, David Hartley, Defends, Falcon Lake, Mexico, Texas, Tiffany Hartley
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