[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/17/art.george.and.andrea.jpg caption="George Norman Harrison and his daughter, Andrea."]
Gary Tuchman and I were in Tijuana last month covering a story on the drug war and the way it has impacted tourism when we heard about a gruesome discovery. 3 bodies were found just minutes from the US border next to a Tijuana bull ring. The bodies were missing heads, arms and legs and a note was attached with the word “snitches.” Turns out, one of those bodies was a 38-year-old American who had been living in Tijuana.
George Norman Harrison is described by his family as a loving man who loved Mexico and the Mexican people. He was born and raised in San Diego County, but lived in Tijuana, Mexico just south of the U.S. border for 13 years. He loved Harley Davidson motorcycles and owned 2 pizza shops in Tijuana calling them Harley’s Pizza. His employees describe him as a great boss, his friends describe him as a hard working, honest man, his family describes him as a loving, caring person, but law enforcement in Mexico say he was connected to the drug cartels, but could offer no evidence as to what those connections were.
On Feb 3rd, 3 men kidnapped him while he was working in one of his pizza shops. His family and friends would never see him again. His family says he was held for ransom, with the kidnappers asking for 1 million dollars. The family says when kidnappers realized they didn’t have the means to come up with the cash, the ransom was lowered to 100 thousand dollars. It took them time to raise the money and had to make more than one payment to the kidnappers. The family says kidnappers delivered 2 of Harrison’s severed fingers to his home to keep pressure on the family to come up with the money.
On the day a second payment was made, George Harrison’s lifeless, beheaded body was found.
We talked with family members who were negotiating with the kidnappers and struggled do deal with Harrison’s brutal murder.
Gary Tuchman has the story tonight on AC360.
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