A Chula Vista physician who has been missing for at least two weeks may be the victim of a kidnap for ransom crime, according to a private investigator hired by the man’s family.
Hugues Bellevue, M.D., 59, was last seen in early November, according to police. Bellevue owns the Saint Marc Hospital in Playas de Tijuana in Mexico, but lives on McCloud River Road in Chula Vista.
On Thursday, the doctor’s family members, along with private investigator Bill Garcia, held a press conference to discuss their theories on the case.
Garcia told NBC 7 San Diego he’s concerned Bellevue may be the victim of kidnap for ransom south of the border.
“He fits the profile of someone who would be abducted for ransom because he does own a hospital [in Mexico], because he does give money to a number of organizations,” said Garcia.
However, Garcia is puzzled because the family has not received a ransom demand – at least that they know of.
“Well, maybe it’s been put out there and we just haven’t found it yet. There’s a good possibility that has occurred,” he added.
Bellevue’s sister and aunt – who asked not to be identified by name because they fear for their own safety – flew into San Diego from New York about two weeks ago to search for Bellevue.
Bellevue’s sister, who described the doctor as a very caring person, said Bellevue’s son was the last person to speak with him on Nov. 11. Bellevue and his son live together.
“All we know is that he’s not answering the calls; he’s not calling us. He hasn’t contacted any of the family members. And it’s definitely not like him,” she told NBC 7.
The sister said her family is close, and Bellevue has close relationships with his relatives in New York, calling them often.
She said Bellevue frequently goes back and forth across the U.S.-Mexico border for work and spends most of his time in Playas de Tijuana. He has operated his clinic in Mexico for more than 20 years.
Bellevue’s sister said the doctor is extremely compassionate and has “spent his whole life helping people.”
“If you come to him and you tell him you have a problem, whatever it is, that’s the way it is – he will help you,” she added.
Bellevue’s aunt said not knowing where he nephew is – and whether or not he’s safe – has been extremely difficult for the family.
“We are just pleading, please, please and he’s a man of God, give us a chance with him, please,” she said.
The aunt said Bellevue was born in Haiti and studied in Mexico before moving to Chula Vista.
She said Bellevue has done a lot of work with an orphanage in Haiti and was scheduled to travel to New York to accept an award on behalf of a Haitian orphanage on Nov. 23. However, he never showed up.
For his part, Garcia has been speaking with neighbors and tracing the doctor’s travels from Chula Vista to his Tijuana-area clinic.
One neighbor told NBC 7 she last saw Bellevue at home on McCloud River Road several weeks ago. Neighbors described him as a very friendly, outgoing man who spoke about his work with orphans in Haiti.
Bellevue’s family said the doctor was generous with his time and his money, making the theory of a kidnapping a very real possibility in their eyes.
Garcia said Bellevue drives a white, 2001 Chevrolet Astro van with California license plate 4PHF788.
Anyone with information on Bellevue’s disappearance or whereabouts should immediately contact the Chula Vista Police Department.