Missing Okla. Pastor Found at U.S.-Mexico Crossing Point
The pastor of a Baptist church in Oklahoma was found at a U.S. re-entry point in Columbus, N.M., a day after he was reportedly kidnapped in Mexico.
Refugio Villa, pastor of the First Hispanic Baptist Church in Guymon, was found unharmed Friday and was being questioned, according to FBI special agent and spokesman Clay Simmonds.
"He is back in the United States," Simmonds said, according to the Amarillo Globe-News.
"He's fine. Currently we have FBI agents interviewing him, trying to find out what happened. The investigation is ongoing," he added.
According to reports, Villa traveled to Juarez, Mexico, on Wednesday to get some dental work done. While there, Villa was reportedly kidnapped and held captive for ransom. The Guymon Police Department was notified Thursday morning about Villa's abduction after his family received a phone call or text message about the kidnapping.
Though FBI agent Simmonds did not comment on whether there were ransom demands, church members said those holding the 45-year-old preacher captive wanted money for his release.
The predominantly Hispanic congregation has since been praying for the safe return of their pastor, who, aside from serving as the church's minister, was also an active member of the Guymon community. Villa worked with several charity organizations and volunteers at the fire department as a chaplain.
A prayer vigil was held for Villa Thursday night that drew over 130 people. Pastors and members of Baptist congregations across the Oklahoma Panhandle also reportedly joined prayed for Villa and offered support to his family.