Shane Andersen was kidnapped for thirty-six hours just outside of Monterrey, Mexico last September; he had been fishing with a co-worker when three young men suddenly pulled up in a truck and kidnapped them with semi-automatic rifles. Thankfully, both Andersen and his co-worker survived the horrifying ordeal, and he gives credit and thanks to God for being with him and for helping him regain his freedom.
Shane Andersen had lived in Mexico for about a year and a half before being kidnapped by the Mexican cartel, with hopes of opening a pizzeria chain business there with his family. He was invited to go fishing with a friend outside of Monterrey, and had just arrived at the destination when a truck pulled up in front of them and slammed on the breaks. Teenagers jumped out of the truck with AR-15's, and the two men were kidnapped "in the blink of an eye."
Andersen recounts his emotions during his captivity as "thirty-six straight hours of pure adrenaline ... constant prayer, constant fear ... it just changes your whole life," he says. The kidnappers told him that they wanted $20,000 for his ransom, and negotiated with his co-worker for an expensive family car in exchange for his life. "Every part of me wanted to break down and cry. So I turned to prayer and thought about my wife," Andersen said.
Though Andersen says it was difficult to think clearly, he remembered the importance of tracking where the men were taking them. "I'm a geography major and kept track of where we were using the sun ... it was a farming area filled with guys just like the ones who had taken me," he says. He avoided looking at the kidnappers, for fear of them killing him if he knew their identity.
"I could go on and on about all the little tiny things that I was - after praying - inspired to do that saved my life. And so I knew that God was with me, and that I just needed to be listening to Him," says Andersen. The locals in the farming community apparently knew what was going on, but did nothing about the two captives in the bed of the teenagers' pick-up truck. "People saw me, knew what was going on, and didn't say anything ... [the kidnappers] paraded us like treasure, like trophy dear," he recalls.
The lead kidnapper gave Andersen his word that he would not kill them if they got the money they were asking for. He handed Andersen a phone while pointing a gun to his head and asked him to call his boss for the ransom money.
Andersen's co-worker was able to escape when retrieving the car he had promised the kidnappers, and the angry young men told Andersen that his friend's actions had cost him his life. He soon met and befriended a young boy during his captivity, and he believes that the boy helped keep him alive by petitioning the kidnappers to spare his life during the negotiation process.
Andersen's boss gave $6,000 for his ransom, but the kidnappers demanded more. They eventually agreed to take his wife's wedding ring, valued at $7,000, as final payment. Upon verifying that the ring which had been dropped off at a neutral location was hers, the kidnappers dropped Andersen off in the middle of nowhere. "If you can make it out of here alive, you survived," they told him.
Thankfully, the young boy Andersen had befriended helped take him out of the dangerous cartel countryside to a nearby city. The boy's help was "also part of God being with me and helping me," he says. Anderson took a taxi home, praying all the while that the driver was not a part of the cartel.
Upon his return, the Mexican authorities investigated Andersen's kidnapping and were able to pinpoint the young men who had held him captive. They phoned him to let him know that the three men were caught and killed by authorities while holding a young woman captive some time later. Thankfully, the woman had survived.
"You just don't know what second is your last second," Anderson says, with a new perspective on the brevity of life - "When you don't know if you're going to live through it and you're given that second chance to live again, you live life differently."