Families Vow to Battle Feds in Search for Answers
The families of Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila want answers.
The ICE special agents were ambushed by members of the Zeta Cartel in Mexico in February 2011. Zapata was killed in the attack and Avila was injured.
Their families said the government has not been forthcoming about the incident or what led to it. Now, they have taken their search for answers to court and vow to battle the federal government to get the answers they seek.
Magdalena Villalobos, Avila’s twin sister, filed a lawsuit in federal court on her brother’s behalf.
“It’s difficult. I represent so many clients. And I always have a lot of passion for them, but this one I’m obviously passionate about,” she said.
For Zapata’s family, the pain of his loss has not faded.
“It feels like the wind got knocked out of me. I thought I was going to die,” said Amador Zapata, Jaime Zapata’s father.
Zapata’s Parents and Victor Avila’s sister want closure.
“Early on I expected a report on what happened and who was responsible, we don’t have that,” said Mary Zapata, Jaime Zapata’s mother.
Villalobos said the ordeal has left her brother emotionally scarred.
“He went through a very difficult period when the initial event occurred. He is still recovering,” she said.
“It’s very painful to see a loved one go through such a horrible time. You can see it in his face, you can hear it in his voice,” Villalobos said. “The pain he is going though. No sleeping, nightmares, there’s not a lot you can do about it … it’s something he will have to work through.”
She said her brother was disheartened when they got no answers from the government.
“There is a moment that he realized there are unanswered questions. It’s so disheartening for him. You don’t want to realize, when you work for the government and you’re passionate about it,” she said “He didn’t want it. He refused to believe it. I think that moment has hit him where he says maybe they didn’t do everything they could have done to not put us agents in harm’s way.”