By Dan Phillips
In 1981, we were hired to locate the runaway princess of a prominent Saudi Arabian royal family, who had moved to the United States with her “husband” from an arranged marriage. As soon as they got to Oklahoma, she fled their residence and headed toward Mexico.
This case was very frustrating as our prime source of leads was from truck drivers who saw the girl hitch hiking on I-35. She was a dark haired beauty and looked Hispanic so we had many false leads, but had to attempt to verify each and every one. One lead led to our having to go view a “Jane Doe” corpse in Mexia Texas.
Many truckers, who wanted to help, had us running to truck stops from southern Oklahoma to San Antonio. This case dragged on for one year. I had pretty much given up thinking that she was living happily under another name, settled and not going to surface. I had just pulled into the parking lot of my apartment complex in Dallas when I heard a short report on the radio that said “A girl was hiding in Laredo and feared for her life”. Seems she was scared as she had broken Muslim law, forbidding her leaving the husband that had been “arranged” for her and for having an affair.
I ran into my apartment, grabbed a bag and headed to the airport and caught a Southwest Airline plane to San Antonio. I got a rental car from the airport in San Antonio and headed south on I-35 towards Laredo.
About one mile north of the border patrol crossing I was in the left lane passing a car on my right. I had just gotten past the car when out of nowhere was a car without lights heading northbound in my lane!! I swerved to the right lane just missing a head on collision! I remember the rest of the trip into Laredo as it took that much time for my heart to slow down. Later I learned that this was a common practice for Coyote’s transporting illegal aliens by driving in the wrong way lanes with lights out to get by the checkpoint.
Eventually I was able to find Loria Lamia at a French restaurant in Laredo having been taken in by the owner, Renee Staley. Though I was met with resistance at first, I was able to convince the young princess that her parents wanted her to return her homeland without the fear of death. She eventually returned to Saudi Arabia and I assume still lives there.