82-year-old abducted by robbers, later found unharmed
Dec. 22, 2012 at 6:22 a.m.
Updated Dec. 23, 2012 at 6:23 a.m.
He was surrounded by friends and family Saturday evening, but hours earlier, they didn't think he would be alive.
Guillermo "Willie" Garcia, 82, was back with family after being abducted Friday afternoon by two robbers.
Garcia, a longtime fruit stand vendor, was later located Saturday afternoon in Robstown, about 18 miles west of Corpus Christi.
Garcia, who has been a vendor for about 30 years, routinely sets up shop at Moody Street and Farm-to-Market Road 236, where Victoria police found his abandoned white Ford van.
Hugged by his youngest son and sister, Garcia said he was glad to be home.
"I prayed to God. I made it home," said Garcia. "I feel very good here with my kids."
Garcia doesn't recall much about being abducted Friday. He said he went unwillingly into a van, and the next thing he recalled is that he wasn't going home.
"I was sleeping in the car," Garcia said. "They took my money and my keys. I only had $40 to $50 in my wallet."
Garcia's son, David, didn't care what his dad lost. He was just excited he was back in one piece.
"When we got the phone call, I was elated," he said. "It was heartbreaking to see dogs searching for him."
Garcia said the robbers - two women - wanted him to come along with them on a trip. They traveled to Robstown and when he refused to go any farther, he was left in that town.
"I told one of the guys (a passer-by) out there to let me use their phone" to call the police, Garcia said.
Family members said they don't know why Garcia was taken. Garcia's daughter, Virginia Mireles, said he has a habit of flashing his money when he gives change at his fruit stand. She suspects the people who kidnapped him had plotted to take him.
When Robstown police called the Garcia family, grandson Javier Mireles was one the first people to volunteer to pick up his grandfather.
"Now, we're going to watch him a little closer," Mireles said. "It's sad you have people that want to do bad."
Garcia usually goes to set up his fruit stand by himself, but his son said that's not going to happen anymore.
"We're going to have a big Christmas," he said. "Hopefully, this doesn't happen again."