3 hostages freed in Haiti, authorities say, 1 suspect still at large

Three hostages, including two missionaries, have been released in Haiti, the U.S. State Department said Tuesday. Authorities are still searching for one woman. The men’s host was a local woman.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said U.S. and other government representatives were assisting with the investigation. She called the kidnapping “horrific.”

“I was able to personally thank the families, the consulate, and the security forces,” said Nauert. “In particular, I’d like to thank the people of Haiti for the warmth and support that they have given us during this difficult time.”

All of the hostages were a U.S. citizen who traveled on a U.S.-sponsored humanitarian mission that included working with the Haitian village.

The kidnappers are from an organization called the Maum Chien Group. According to CBS News, the group’s U.S. leader, Hiram Cortez, said his group is “capable of accomplishing anything in Haiti,” including “making everyone forget about what’s going on in the country, bringing thousands and thousands of migrants to the United States.”

“What happened here was an act of barbarism that devastated the country, and I think it’s very clear that the perpetrator is in the closet,” Cortez told CBS News. “I believe this person who did this need to be confronted with justice.”

According to the AP, one of the kidnapped missionaries, a woman from San Antonio, Tex., told The Associated Press that a group of armed men in trucks ambushed her group as they drove from Port-au-Prince to the village of Maum Chien on Monday. They stole everything they had.

The other two hostages were identified as a U.S. man from Washington state, identified as Nelson Davis, and a woman from Lindon, Utah, identified as Ashley Serrano.

WJAR in Providence reported that Serrano told her family that the kidnappers were members of Maum Chien, who raided her group because they feared they would interfere with their drug business. Serrano’s family contacted Utah State Police, and they tracked down a Facebook page belonging to the Maum Chien Group.

Read the full story at CBS News.


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