While one's home is often a safe haven from the harsh realities of the world, for the Valseca family, home became the place where their worst nightmares came to fruition. In 2007, Eduardo and Jayne Rager Valseca were driving down the street from their picturesque San Miguel de Allende home in Mexico after dropping their three kids, Emiliano, Nayah, and Fernando, off at school. Suddenly, their car was boxed in by two other vehicles, and what followed would change their lives forever.
Eduardo Valesca would be kidnapped for seven months before Jayne Valseca would be able to free her husband from the gang that took him.
What happened to the Valseca family? Their harrowing story will be covered on Dateline, and viewers will hear from the now-adult children of Eduardo Valseca for the first time since the kidnapping. Plus, learn about the tragedy that would befall the family once again just a few years later.
What happened to the Valseca family?
In June of 2007, the Valsecas' months-long nightmare began when men carrying hammers, clubs, and guns pounded through the car windows of the couple's car. While Jayne Valseca pleaded for her life by telling the men that she was a mother, they soon blindfolded the two and bound them, placing them in a new vehicle.
As the kidnappers drove with the Valseca parents in tow, Jayne Valseca tried to take note of where the car turned, and how long they were driving for. Eventually, the car stopped, and Eduardo Valseca was brought into a different vehicle. Jayne Valseca was left in the original car, and she rolled out onto the street. She was near a highway, and she began to walk home.
She nudged her blindfold up, and she memorized the license plate of the car that had her husband in it before it drove off.
After going to the police (which she noted were often corrupted by gangs to supplement their income), Jayne Valseca spent the next few months negotiating with her husband's kidnappers via the classified section of the local newspaper. The kidnappers originally asked for $8 million, and Jayne Valesca assumed that they thought her family was wealthier, based on the fact that Eduardo Valesca's father had started his own newspaper years before.
But, the couple had nowhere near that amount, and negotiations went on for months.
Jayne would hear from her husband via phone calls, letters, and videos during his months in captivity. She learned that he was kept in a cage, and that loud music would be playing at all times so it would be difficult for him to sleep. He lost a significant amount of weight during this time as well.
She also determined that the kidnappers had surveyed their home for months leading up to the abduction.
Eventually, Jayne Valseca was able to come to a common ground with the kidnappers. She never disclosed how much she spent to get her husband back. She hired two men to drop a suitcase filled with cash off at a previously discussed location. Instead of getting her husband back right away, the kidnappers took one of the men as leverage.
Eduardo Valseca showed up at home the next day. His kidnappers had dropped him at a cemetery, and he walked home. It was the first time he had been able to walk since he was taken.
The family soon moved to Maryland, which was where Jayne Valseca was from.
Unfortunately, while the entire ordeal was going on, Jayne Valseca was also battling stage 4 cancer. She passed away in 2012, and she believed that the stress of her husband's kidnapping had worsened her health.
Who kidnapped Eduardo Valseca?
For years after he was taken, Eduardo Valseca didn't get justice. While he was in captivity, he had suspected that his kidnappers were South American, not Mexican, based on their accents. Finally, in May of 2017, Raul Julio Escobar Poblete was arrested, and in Paris in February of 2018, Ricardo Palma Salamanca was apprehended by authorities.
The two men had kidnapped a woman in Paris, and they had severed off one of her fingers to give to her family member (who was negotiating for her release) to put pressure on. When a taxi driver who was tasked with dropping off the package (which included the finger) grew suspicious of Poblete's demeanor, he called police. Poblete was arrested shortly thereafter, and Salamanca was still on the run.
The pair had been on the run for more than 20 years after they were arrested in Chile for being revolutionaries and assassins in the '90s. They had even escaped from a Chilean prison via a helicopter in an infamous prison break.
For the next few decades, they ran a kidnapping ring under new names. They targeted the San Miguel area, and Eduardo Valseca believes that their gang was responsible for his kidnapping. They went on to commit many other kidnappings.
The arrested men had assimilated into life in Mexico so convincingly, that they were known as devoted parents and they had even opened up a cafe.
Poblete is now in prison in Guanajuato, while Salamanca appears to still be in France following France's decision not to extradite him to Chile.
On Dateline, Jayne and Eduardo Valseca's children will finally break their silence about their father's abduction and their mother's subsequent death.
Dateline airs on Fridays at 9 p.m. on NBC.