- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 22, 2005

DALLAS — A schoolteacher and a Mexican immigrant were being sought by police in the disappearance of a Dallas restaurateur, who has been missing since Tuesday morning.

Police refuse to speculate about whether Oscar Sanchez, 30, business manager of a thriving Mexican restaurant chain, is dead or alive.

Arrest warrants for Jose Felix and Edgar Acevedo were issued late Friday.

Police Detective Gil Cerda said the two men were believed to be in a 2004 Chevrolet Silverado pickup, registered to Mr. Felix, a Dallas teacher. One source involved in the investigation told The Washington Times that Mr. Acevedo, who purportedly has a long criminal record, was a disgruntled former employee of one of the family’s restaurants.

Mr. Sanchez was on his way to work Tuesday morning when his car was rammed from behind by the assailants. Police said the collision was a ruse to get him out of his vehicle. He was then shoved into a white sedan, just blocks from his home in an upscale neighborhood.

An eyewitness gave police a description of the two men, but said he was not close enough to get a license plate number.

Police moved quickly Tuesday after Mr. Sanchez’s captors telephoned his mother, Laura Sanchez, and instructed her to deliver $3 million to an address in nearby Arlington, Texas.

The calls were quickly traced to a private home in suburban Duncanville, about eight miles south of the site where Mr. Sanchez disappeared.

Police SWAT teams hurried to the residence and found it deserted, but reportedly found evidence — including blood and shell casings — that they said indicated there had been a struggle.

Police said nobody had showed up at the “drop” site to pick up the ransom money, and the family had not been contacted by the assailants again.

Donald Claxton, spokesman for the Dallas Independent School District, said Mr. Felix had been a teacher in the system since August 2003, but had not reported to work since late November. The school district was in the process of firing him, he said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Sanchez’s mother and other family members pleaded for the safe release of their loved one. Mrs. Sanchez spoke in Spanish, saying afterward that she felt those responsible were more conversant in Spanish than English.

More than $50,000 in reward money has been offered by leading Dallas firms for Mr. Sanchez’s safe release.

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