Escape from Kidnapping Rapists after days of Hitchhiking East in Mexico

Even after waking up at 3pm after a long night of drinking, Kelly and I were ready to hitchhike on to the next place, we figured Veracruz was good. We didn't have a place to stay, although we'd sent out somecouchsurfing requests beforehand. After a quick trip to the internet cafe, we grabbed some bread and donuts for our bus ride, Olaf showed us the way and rode with us.

Just less than hour later we hit a gas station apparently on the edge of town, Olaf wanted to watch us hitchhike and see if we got a ride, he stood off to the side. I wasn't convinced we were on the right road, we decided to walk further down it to see if it turned into something better, we parted ways with Olaf then. We walked and walked to find the road winded and up, down and around hills into the country, there was no shoulder even for cars to pull over.

We walked back towards the gas station and took a side road I thought might lead to the main freeway, it instead took us through a tiny quiet town. We strolled through the streets until Kelly asked someone about the road to Veracruz, they pointed us to a local bus that would dump us to the road, we got on to find out the on ramp was indeed close to the gas station in the other direction than what we'd walked.

Finally on the right road, we walked up it to find a good spot, thumbing the traffic that passed. A guy worker was stacking up cones along the road and Kelly got to talking to him, next thing she's helping carry some of the cones and we're loading into their truck. The guys gave us a ride a decent ways down the road, reaches their turn off just at sunset. We waited while another hitchhiking woman got a ride, we figured ours would come soon. Darkness came first, we started thinking about a place to camp for the night.

We walked down the road in our direction in search for a patch of trees, anything, but the bush was thick and pretty much went rolled into a ditch off the road. We came up quickly on some street lights a mini half mile town, just before it was the patch of trees we were looking for. We snuck behind and rolled out our sleeping gear, then laid in the heat. Before long we both realized we were far from tired, we'd only been up about 6 or 7 hours, Kelly was also a bit paranoid about being discovered by people and mosquitoes.

We decided to pack up and try to hitch again under the street lights just after a row of speed bumps. We used the last of the pesos between us to buy a bottle of water and started thumbing. A car stopped soon, Kelly rode shotgun and talked with the friendly guy who was headed for Veracruz. The guy stopped in a small town so we could see it, there were old walls that giant trees had grown into, the roots were intertwined and seemed to be the only thing holding the walls up, it was very cool.

He dropped us off by a hotel on the far side of Veracruz, Kelly said he was one of the happiest people she'd ever met. She was ready to splurge for a hotel, our brief attempt at sleeping outside was enough for her. The hotel she tried was fully booked, she hit an ATM and we went for tacos to think for a bit, the tacos were great. We went walking and looking for another hotel after that, then decided to grab a taxi and see if the driver would know a good spot. As we hopped into one a bunch of girls shouted at me something like, "muy guapo, adios!", the driver said gringos get a lot of attention. He took us to a cheap hotel on the other side of town and let us out.

Kelly picked up a room, we made another stop at an ATM to cover the expense, back in the room we passed out pretty quickly. In the morning we were ready to go again, off toMerida in the Yucatan where we had a couchsurfer to stay with. I went to the front desk to use the internet , the night before they said it would be 20 pesos. No one was at the desk, so I waited for a minute, then just fired up the computer myself and checked my messages and the map.

I shutdown the computer and went back into the hallway towards the stairs, a woman popped out down the hallway, "hoy!", I think she said. I don't think she saw me using the computer, but was still wondering what I was doing. I couldn't communicate to well with her, I handed her the key to the room and said "checking out", which she didn't understand. I tried to say something inspanish to her, Kelly later translated my botched attempt as, "I'm going to the bed to touch my things, done!".

Of course I meant to say, "I'm going to the room to grab my things, then we're leaving", but I don't think she understood either way and I just went to do it anyhow. We quickly packed and got to walking, stopping for food first, good food,empanadas and gorditas . Asking several people for directions, we found ourselves on a local bus heading across town and further in our direction. It let us out an hour or more later along the road we needed to be on.

We heard pumping music coming out a small place and decided to grab a beer there. There weren't many people there, a bored bartender avoided eye contact and grabbed us a couple beers, we drank up and got to the road near the speed bumps. A minivan stopped for us with two girls full of energy, laughing with Kelly inspanish. One of them worked Cancun during the tourist season, she pointed at me with her eyes and said a bunch in Spanish ending with, "Gringos! Aaah!", she laughed with Kelly.

They kept on driving us, the younger one got us some cheap eats from a vendor walking around the gas station while the other used the bathroom. I noticed when they turned off the main highway, but Kelly didn't seem to alarmed. They dropped us off in a semi-deserted looking spot, but the word was that the road connected back to the main road at some point.

A couple stopped and asked where we were going, they were going to Oaxaca, pretty far away and in the opposite direction, but a place we knew we wanted to go to eventually, we shrugged and said sure. It didn't happen though, they didn't have room in their car, it wasstrange that they stopped at all. We got a ride shortly after that from a guy heading in our original direction. He took us an hour or so down the road and let us off.

A pickup truck full of guys stopped and asked where we were going, they were going a different way and drove off. They looped back around a little later and told Kelly they could at least drive us to the road we needed to be on. We rode in the back of the pickup, they let us out near a checkpoint or tollbooth, offering us a couple sad looking oranges that were rolling around in the back on our way out.

We walked down to the checkpoint past the slew of heavily armed police, they gave us funny looks. A group of them rolled up to us hanging off the truck and asked where we were going, they smiled and drove off when we told them. Soon we were in a big truck headed further down the road, the guy got us some incredible pineapple juice from some people on the side of the road, ice cold and rich with flavor.

He dropped us off at a gas station past a checkpoint which was as far as he could take us. We had great tacos again, night had fallen now. We went to the speed bumps just past the checkpoint near a streetlight and started thumbing, it wasn't the best spot and not all that bright. Some of the police came over to inquire what we were doing and say we couldn't hitchhike in that particular spot. Kelly dumbed down herspanish to avoid having to talk to them too much. They asked to search our bags, but lazily looked in a small pocket in each of ours, I suppose they were bored or curious.

Walking back towards the gas station to stand somewhere else, a guy with a small truck offered us a ride to Villahermosa, he took us a decent distance to the edge of the city. It was well dark now, and Merida was still a ways away. Kelly was still up for hitching though, so we got to walking down the dark road in search for a better place to stand and make our way across the city and down the road.

Along the walk, a car cruised by pretty close and shouted "hippies!", again it sounded like perhaps one of the few english words they knew. Kelly let out a startled "yelp!", she was in her own world of thoughts. We walked a little further and a big truck stopped for us and we hopped in. He went out of his way to take across town and past another checkpoint.

In the streetlights we started thumbing the cars and trucks that came through the checkpoint, finally a white pickup truck stopped. Kelly went to the window to talk to the two young guys inside, she said they were headed a couple hours up the road. She asked if I minded if she took the free seat inside the cab, I told her to go for it, looking up I could see he stars were shining a bit.

We cruised down the road, the stars were crystal clear, more so as we got further away from the city, it was the most I'd seen in a very good while. I enjoyed the time on my own back there, I figured I should be tired given the time, it was somewheres after midnight, but the stars kept me up. I pulled out my harmonica for a while and got to playing, shouting out songs I'd come up with in the past couple years while walking along the road.

We stopped at a gas station and the three of them got out, one went looking for beer, I talked with the driver a bit, Kelly had to translate. I managed to say, inspanish , that I was enjoying seeing all the stars. When we got to going again Kelly said she'd sit back with me to see them too, she smiled, "I've got a lot to talk to you about", in regards to whatever conversation she had been having along the ride. We didn't talk though for the next stretch, we were both lost in the stars and the wind blowing by.

We hit a big bump in the road tossing us around a bit, the kid in the passenger seat stuck his head out the window with a laugh asking if we wereok . Just up the road we stopped at the next gas station where they managed to find beer. While they were inside Kelly told me that they were talking about their job as traffickers, both humans and firearms. She'd asked about it, there response was, "Why are you asking questions about our business", and she quieted down, but I guess they talked more about it anyhow.

They popped out with a couple six packs of beer, Kelly hopped back in the cab with them. The guy handed me a beer in the back, and with a face that's asking a question he held up 2 fingers, I nodded with a smile and he handed me another. We shot back down the road into the dark, I enjoyed my sips of beer and kept my eyes to the stars.

A little ways down we pulled off into a small dirt road or maybe a driveway and stopped, they all got out. Kelly said we were stopping to enjoy the beers before the next checkpoint. The older of the two guys talked to me the whole time, mostly through Kelly's translations, the younger guy barely said a word. He said he was happy to help us and that this is what life was all about.

"Guess what my second job is", in spanish he said this, relayed by Kelly. She'd already told me, but I played dumb, he said his first job was dealing with animals on a farm where he was headed now. His hint was that it was illegal, I guess trafficking, I was right of course. He said he was dealing with getting people from Guatemala to the US, each person was paying $700USD each. Once at the border, if he got caught, corrupt border patrol would charge $100 per person and let them through. He said firearms was far more dangerous.

We drank some more beers, Kelly seemed a bit nervous while he was talking about his second job. He was the second person I'd gotten a ride from with a job like this, the first was in southern Arizona when I was headed for Oklahoma City. He then asked about the word, "secuestrar", which Kelly translated as kidnapping. He said a lot of people in that area also do that, kidnap people and have them call friends or family to get as much money as they can, and that there were also people who'd pick up and rape girl. "I don't do that though, that's not my business, just trafficking".

We finished the beers and were ready to go, Kelly said she was going to ride in the back with me, but they told her she'd have to ride in front, "because of thefederales ", we laughed it off, as I would be in back either way. We got down the road, crossing the checkpoint. The stars had their lock on me still, but I kept peeking up front into the cab at Kelly in between the guys, something seemed off.

Soon I saw her forcing the younger guys hand away, he seemed to be trying to put his arm around her. Everything would seem calm, then I saw her do it again. We kept speeding down the road, I thought about what might be going on up there. We very abruptly turned off the main road and started barreling down a dirt road going pretty quickly. Kelly's swatting away at the guy's hand continued a few more times.

I thought about what I could do, we weren't going towards Merida, I didn't know where we were going and what their intentions were. I thought about reaching through the window in some sort of attack, but that wouldn't have done too much good... hitting the driver is never a good idea, and hitting the other guy could be trouble too.

We made another turn on the dirt road, in my head I was keeping track best I could of distances and landmarks in the dark, there weren't many. The car came slowed quickly to a stop, Kelly screamed while crawling over the young guy in the passenger seat, 19 years old, she poured out the window while I went up to it ready to help shouting "hey! hey!".

She cried something like, "Kenny, we gotta get out of here!", as she disappeared running into the trees and darkness. I looked towards the guys to see what was going on, they were laughing as they casually got out, I pulled our backpacks from the back of the truck. They didn't seem phased by any of it or seem to care about chasing either of us, they both started taking a piss facing away from me. I laughed at them trying to maintain the mood, taking a piss myself and shouting at them in English things like, "How do you say this? To take a piss?".

I booked it for the woods myself a moment later, "Thanks a lot guys!", I shouted as I disappeared, my sarcastic tone and english words were lost on them. Right away I encountered a barbed wire fence, I dropped the bags and slipped through it, I was shouting one thing or another, I forget what, but something to let Kelly know, wherever she was, that it was me coming through the fence and not one of the guys.

I saw the pickup truck pull off and down the road a bit and shouted for Kelly, I found her in the field and held her for a minute asking if she wasok , they hadn't done too much to her fortunately. She turned the flashlight on her phone on, right then the pickup truck looped back around, we saw it coming and ran for a quick spell before dropping to the ground.

"Kelly. Kelly Kelly!", they shouted out the window, we stayed still and they quickly passed. As soon as they did I went quickly back to the fence with Kelly and her flashlight, we grabbed our bags and started heading down into the field away from the road, I had her turn her flashlight off. We hadn't gotten too far when the truck came back again, we quickly laid down in the dirt.

"Kelly? Kelly. Kelly.", they drove slowly and shined another light into the field. We were hardly breathing we were staying so still, mosquitoes buzzed in my ear while others enjoyed anuninterrupted feast on my legs and arms. At last they passed, we started running as fast as we could under the light of the crescent moon, unsure if they had perhaps just turned the car off or let one of them out. When we got a good distance I stopped still for a moment to listen. I didn't hear anyone running towards us, no cars coming or going.

My idea was to head towards the road we'd turned off and cross it, then continue heading back to the main road that way, I figured they wouldn't expect to look for us on that side of the road. First we were going to move forward a bit and just keep our distance from any road. Even if we'd been on the road with no threat of getting caught, we were still 10 or 20 miles from the freeway at least.

The bush we were walking through was a mix of tall grass, sharp thorny plants and cow pies. I kept my eyes open for the cows, bulls or whatever else might be lurking in the dark. We made our way quickly through a patch of trees, hidden from the road, unsure exactly how far it was anyhow, but I kept my bearings as far as direction.

After a little while of soldiering through I was convinced we were safe for the time being. The guys who let us run away and took a piss while laughing clearly weren't motivated enough to chase us through this jungle like farmland in the dark. Either way though, we had to get to a place we could camp until sunrise, or a spot on the road where we could stay hidden and identify what car was coming before deciding to flag it down to get a ride out.

We took a turn right towards the road, a patch of trees in the way. We hacked through some bush just to come across a decent sized stream. We decided to hack our way and go further to see if there would be a better crossing. We marched on, getting scraped up along the way by thorns, a few more times I had to pull apart barbed wire fences so we could cross through. Kelly changed into pants to minimize thescratching on her legs. I couldn't help but smile at the ridiculousness of it all, I shared a silent laugh with the stars above us.

After a couple hours or more we saw the lights of a farmhouse. Recalling that they'd said they were working with animals on a farm, we weren't too keen on making ourselves known. I knew if we crossed the fence though,there'd have to be a driveway that would cross the stream. Kelly touched the fence and jolted back slightly, "I think it's electric", I touched it too, and damn it was electric, a slap in the face really.

We walked along it, slipping down a hill along it in the direction of the road, roosters crying and horses on the move in the moonlight. We at last came to the end of the fence where we could climb around it near the bridge and pull ourselves up, we made our way down the driveway to the main road. It didn't feel like the main road, it seemed even bumpier and more in the trees.

We walked in the direction that made navigational sense to me until it clearly didn't make sense as far as my memory of how the road felt, then we got to walking the other way towards a light in the distance, passing the driveway to the farm house again. We saw headlights coming from far down the road and bailed into the woods to the side waiting for it to pass, it never did, a bit odd.

We got to walking again, then convinced ourselves to turn around and try the farm house for some help. Walking back, we saw headlights coming from behind us again, we bailed again into the ditch. Kelly dove in, I thought she'd wiped out pretty good, but she said she wasok. Again, the car never passed. In the distance I saw the car driving down a road running a bit parallel . I understood then that we were on a side road running along that road, my sense of navigation stayed intact and things made sense, but we kept on towards the farm house.

We stashed our packs and slipped through the locked gate, weary of the possibility we'd see a white pickup truck parked somewhere, we didn't. A dog barked as we got closer, we heard some people start to talk and a light come on, "hola!", Kelly started shouting, saying other things in spanish too.

A woman came to the window, others poked out of the small cottages surrounding. Kelly began to explain our situation, keeping in mind the possibility that those two guys were in one of the several cottages. After a while of going back and forth, Kelly explained that the woman was saying they were poor, and no one had a car there.

That seemed to be the end of it, we wondered if they'd let us camp out for a bit. The dark of night was lifting, evidence of the coming sun was showing. I went to the gates and grabbed our bags, coming back to see Kelly talking with a big group of people who didn't seem very helpful, just mildly curious. She asked for water, someone brought out a few crackers and some soda that we got to drinking. We sat by the well in the center of it all as the sky started getting brighter. Around us they started going about their morning, tending to horses, feeding chickens.

We decided we should walk to the road now that the sun was on it's way, the people were ignoring us. As we got to the gate a pickup truck pulled in with a woman driving, we didn't bother asking anything to her, she just gave us a funny look and drove past. As we walked down the dirt road to the "main" dirt road, the sun popped up at the end of it.

Once at the other road we started walking in the direction of the real main road, the one that lead to Merida. A car came from that direction, heading the opposite way, we decided to flag it down anyhow, it drove past us. We turned around and it stopped, a change of mind, we ran for it and Kelly explained we were looking for a bus station, she was done with hitchhiking, in Mexico, in any place she said.

The couple drove us a ways into a small town, stopping first at an ATM where Kelly grabbed some money, then at the bus station. She bought us two tickets to Merida, the bus wasn't leaving for another 3 or 4 hours. We sat for a bit and then grabbed a bite to eat, mostly quiet.

"We got kidnapped", Kelly said. This would be said often from that point, replacing our previous refrain of, "We're in Mexico". We sat in the bus station falling in and out of sleep. Kelly's legs were cut up pretty good, she'd run right through that first barbed wire fence when she'd bailed out of the car through the window.

Finally our bus arrived headed for Merida, we fell asleep quickly. It had been an adventure for sure, and we had some things to figure out now that hitchhiking was out of the question for Kelly.


  1. Interesting story. Could have easily happened in the US also.


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