Houston-Area Family Mourns Hostage Killed in Algeria

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NEDERLAND, Texas – Relatives in Nederland and Atascocita are mourning the death of one of the hostages killed last week in an attack at a BP plant in Algeria.

Victor Lovelady, 57, had only been in Algeria for 10 days when Algerian militants stormed the massive natural gas plant where he was working.

Dozens of hostages from several countries were rescued, but Lovelady and two other Americans were killed.

Over the holidays in Nederland, Lovelady assured his wife and two adult children that he would be safe.

"He told us all the time, we asked him all the time, ‘Do you feel safe? Do you feel safe going?’" said his daughter Erin in an exclusive interview with CBS affiliate KFDM in Beaumont. "If you don’t feel safe you don’t have to go. And he said, ‘Nothing’s happened there in so long and my friends have been doing it for so long. It’s fine Erin. It’s so safe. We have protection.’ He really, truly felt safe there. He did."
Lovelady moved to Atascocita from Nederland in 2011 to be closer to his work with ENGlobal, where he was a manager.

He continued to travel to and from Nederland so that his children could finish school there. 

Erin Lovelady said he waited to take the contractor assignment in Algeria until he had been able to go to all of his son and daughter’s sports games in high school and college.

"I want people to know how wonderful my dad was and how great a dad he was and how much he’s going to be missed by me and my brother and my mother," she said. "I’m daddy’s little girl. You know, that was me. We were very, very close."

She said he was excited to take the 28 days on/28 days off assignments to be able to spend more consecutive days with his wife and to provide a better financial future.

Lovelady was reportedly still alive after the initial assault. Last Friday, the FBI informed the Lovelady family that he was a hostage but that he was "alive and well." 

The FBI contacted Lovelady’s brother, Mike, on Saturday to report that the contractor had not survived the final assault on the compound.

"I can’t tell you how disheartening it was," said his older brother Mike Lovelady. "We just knew he was going to be coming home with the rest of them. Because we got official confirmation that he was fine. He was still being held hostage, but he was alive."

"I can associate my brother getting in a car wreck or having cancer. But terrorism and Nederland, Texas don’t go together," said Mike Lovelady. "This is something that we can’t get our arms around and probably never will. But our family will stick together and we will make it through this."

Lovelady’s former employer ENGlobal released the following statement from Founder and CEO William A. Coskey: "It is with deep regret that we announce the death of Victor Lovelady, who passed away on or about January 19, 2013 at the age of 57. Mr. Lovelady was a member of the ENGlobal family from 1989 until October of 2012. Our condolences go out to his wife and the entire Lovelady family. We pray that God will comfort each of them, and help them eventually find peace after this horrific tragedy.

"Victor was a dedicated family man and a fantastic co-worker, touching many lives at ENGlobal. Vic was valued for his extensive knowledge of our automation business and the large number of successful projects for which he was responsible. Vic was someone who took great pride in his work, and who also mentored countless individuals during his tenure. He had a spontaneous wit –and was an easy guy to know and love. Vic was a true friend to those that knew him and will be greatly missed."

Frederick Buttaccio, from Katy, was also killed. Buttaccio, 58, was a University of Houston graduate who worked for BP. Seven other Americans survived the attack.

Information from our CBS affiliate KDFM in Beaumont contributed to this report.