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Aunt: Land dispute to blame for missing Marine

HARGILL, Texas — A U.S. Marine reservist who disappeared in Mexico last month along with his father and uncle may have stumbled into an ongoing land dispute between his family and a neighbor, family members said Tuesday.

The FBI announced Monday it's looking for information about the May 14 disappearance of 25-year-old Iraq War veteran Armando Torres III of Hargill, Texas. He, his father, Armando Torres II, and uncle Salvador Torres were taken from the ranch in Mexico, not far from the border.

Patricia Torres, the reservist's aunt, said Tuesday that her father-in-law — Armando Torres Sr. — had sold a piece of his ranch in La Barranca, Tamaulipas, to a neighbor. When that neighbor stopped making payments on the land, Salvador Torres took it back.

"That's when everything started," Patricia Torres said from the porch of her nephew's trailer home. "That's when they said they were going to have revenge and that they were going to regret it. After a month passed by, this happened."

In addition to the criminal investigation by Mexican officials, the FBI has opened a concurrent international kidnapping investigation.

Armando Torres III's sister Cristina Torres chatted online with her brother the day before he disappeared. She said he told her he wanted to move to Virginia where she and their mother live.

"I think maybe he just wanted, you know, to go and have a farewell and tell my dad he's coming over here," said Cristina Torres, 24, of Harrisonburg, Va. He hadn't traveled to Mexico in years, because, as a Marine, he was not allowed to cross the border, she said.