WXXI AM News

Family Abduction Victim Tells His Story

Oct 11, 2016

Air Force Captain David Rodriguez
Credit Alex Crichton

A Rochester man is sharing his story of being the victim of a family abduction.

28 year old David Rodriguez is an Air Force fighter pilot, with a wife and two children.

But he almost didn't have the opportunity to live out his dream.

When he was three, he was abducted by a man named Wes, who was going through a divorce from his mother.

Wes kidnapped Rodriguez to Florida where he lived for three years.

But with the help of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and a former homicide investigator, Rodriguez was reunited with his family in the 1990's.

He says after he was recovered, he learned Wes was planning to take him to a remote area in Alaska.

Wes eventually died there in the wilderness.

"I feel blessed for the opportunity to talk to people about this sort of thing because I know this story doesn't always go this way," Rodriguez says.

Rodriguez says he hopes by talking with people and families, he'll bring hope to those who are going through an abduction, or have recovered a family member and are going through the process to re-establish that bond as a family.

Executive Director of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Rochester, Ed Suk, says they do see cases where kids are found deceased, but this story can inspire hope.

"When you have a situation when you have a local kid who was abducted, taken away for years, and then successfully recovered and you see him go on a path to tremendous success, ultimately becoming an elite fighter pilot for the Air Force, it's a story that really has to be told," he says. 

Rodriguez adds he hopes he's a testimony to the fact that a child can still chase their dreams with the love and support of their family.