PELHAM, N.Y. -- Family and friends of missing Pelham man Harry Devert, a world traveler and blogger who went missing in Mexico in January, are concerned after an unconfirmed development in the case.
According to family friend and spokeswoman Jackie Burrell, who runs the search effort out of her Larchmont home, the search party's Mexican contacts sent word Friday night that a local group of peace advocates in La Union known as Pueblos Libres hung banners naming a cartel leader known as "El Tigre" responsible for the kidnapping of an "American globetrotter."
Similar information has been circulating in news stories from Mexican media outlets recently linking Devert's disappearance to cartel activity. The reports suggest he may have been mistaken for a DEA agent and kidnapped by members of the Los Guerreros, who are affiliated with the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, based in Michoacan.
The 1999 Pelham High School graduate dropped out of contact over 50 days ago on Jan. 25 while on a motorcycling trip across Latin America leading up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, which is scheduled for June. His last known location was a gas station in the region of Michoacan.
While the lead is one of many they have received and continue to pursue, Burrell said this one could point them in the right direction.
"We don’t have confirmation this is true, but ("El Tigre") is wanted in the U.S. for another American citizen's disappearance. They referred to an American globetrotter. ... It has to be Harry," she said.
Burrell said the group's main agenda is to speak out against cartel violence in Mexico, and that they've endorsed Devert's cause as a token to the United States.
"They want tourism to continue because of the economy, but first they want the fighting to stop," she said.
Burrell said Devert's family and childhood friends still hope to help his mother, New Rochelle resident Ann Devert, find her son.
"We are hoping and praying for the best. These kids are doing everything they can to help," she said. "Right now, what is just so painful for his friends, is that they don’t know what to do. They need to find closure, whatever that might be," she said.
Ann is currently in Mexico on a solo mission to find her son. She is staying with old friends she made many years ago while studying in the Michoacan region.
"She isn't going to leave until she finds her son," Burrell said. "She's out there following his tracks. She's doing what a mom can do in a situation like this."