Then, four days later, the reporters started calling, wanting Fanny's reaction to news of her husband's kidnapping from a place she'd never heard of in the Philippines. It didn't make sense to the 35-year-old mother of three. Her Peruvian-born husband seals pools and outdoor decks for a living, and likes coming home to mow the lawn with their three-year-old son trailing behind. When he he had been missing for several days, Fanny had been worried enough to file a missing person's report with the Corona police, suggesting they check his favorite hangouts, like the Uoko Japanese restaurant in nearby Tustin. She certainly didn't expect to find him in the Philippines—and in great peril.
Sobero's nightmare began May 27, when he and a Filipina were dragged out of their bungalow at the Dos Palmas diving resort in Palawan island by rebels of the Abu Sayyaf, an Islamic militant group described by a U.S. official as "Kidnap Inc." The terrorists also grabbed a Kansas missionary couple, Martin and Gracia Burnham, who were celebrating their 18th wedding anniversary, and 13 Filipinos. They were forced into speedboats and hauled 400 km to Basilan, the terrorists' island lair off southern Mindanao. Rebels last week claimed they had beheaded Sobero, but the Philippine military said it couldn't confirm the killing.
Despite the couple's estrangement, Fanny is traumatized by what has happened to Sobero, and struggles to keep news of the kidnapping from their children until his fate is known for certain. If he survives, he might want to stay closer to home next holiday.