NEDERLAND, Texas — Victor Lynn Lovelady liked working at a large natural gas facility in Algeria. If his job in the Ain Amenas field in the Sahara was dangerous, he didn’t give it much thought.
“He honestly wasn’t concerned about his safety, and that really bothers me now,” said Erin Lovelady, his daughter. “I believe he was blind-sided.”
Islamic Militants based in neighboring Mali seized the plant last week, holding Lovelady and other workers hostage. Algerian troops stormed the plant Saturday. Officials say 29 militants and 38 workers - including Lovelady and two other Americans - were killed.
Lovelady was a native of Nederland, on the Texas Gulf Coast outside Beaumont. He'd been living in Houston the past two years, when not in North Africa.
Lovelady's family described him as smart and level-headed.
"If there was a way he could get out, he would,” said his daughter. “He wouldn’t be the person crying and screaming and begging. He’d be calm.”
Lovelady enjoyed his work as well as the people of North Africa, said his family. He often offered to help with problems at their homes.
"He loved Africa," said his daughter. "I don't know why, he just felt something there."
Militants who captured the oil field offered to release Lovelady and another American hostage, Gordon Lee Rowan, in exchange for the release of two U.S. prisoners: Omar Abdel Rahman, who was convicted of plotting to blow up sites New York City and is considered a leader of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing; and Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani scientist convicted of firing upon U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. The Obama administration rejected the offer.
Asked about blame for his brother's death, Mike Lovelady said the terrorists are responsible. Things might have been different, he said, had Algerian officials allowed U.S. or British special forces to take over the operation to free the hostages.
“We feel it could have been handled differently,” he said. “Yeah, we’re angry, but we’re not going to let it affect my faith in God.”
Mike Lovelady said he wants to find out how his brother died.
“Three Americans died there, and my brother was one of them," he said. "Terrorists and Nederland, Texas, should not be in the same sentence. I want to know how my brother died. … I want closure.”
Victor Lovelady is also survived by his wife, Maureen, and a son, Grant.
Details for this story were reported by The Port Arthur, Texas, News.