Haiti police free three kidnapped children of American missionary
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Police rescued two kidnapped children and a foster child of an American missionary couple during a raid on an apartment in Haiti’s capital, officials said Monday.Police said Hannah Lloyd, 3, her brother David, 5, and their Haitian foster sister Miriam Meinvil, 7, were unharmed.The children of Pentecostal minister David Lloyd and his wife, Alicia, were abducted after they left school on Friday and rescued the next day. Police said they delayed in publicizing the crime until Monday to avoid jeopardizing an investigation.Lloyd, of Claremore, Okla., told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that while the children weren’t injured, “my little girl is still very scared.”He said the older children told him that at one point, the kidnappers threatened Hannah that they would shoot her unless she stopped crying.Police said the kidnapping occurred shortly after Alicia Lloyd picked up the children. Several armed men dressed as police officers in van marked “police” cut them off in downtown traffic, seized the children and sped away.Police traced the men to an apartment building in the volatile Delmas neighborhood and raided the property on Saturday, freeing the children and arresting seven suspects, including a former police officer, said Michael Lucius, the head of Haiti’s Judicial Police.”We operated very fast and no one was hurt,” Lucius said.He said police were investigating if the other six suspects were current or former police officers.The children were the latest victims of a surge of kidnappings that have added to insecurity ahead of the first elections since the February 2004 ouster of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Police reported more than 50 kidnappings in September.Lloyd said someone phoned him asking for a $350,000 ransom for the children’s release, but he said he couldn’t sure if it was the captors.He said the captors allowed him to speak with the children by phone several times before they were freed. During one conversation, the children said they were fed a pack of cheese puffs and a soda for dinner.Lloyd, who runs the “Missions in Haiti” charity with his wife, said he wouldn’t leave Haiti. The charity helps raise 21 Haitian foster children.”It’s been a pretty rough year, but we feel this is where God wants us to be, and we will stay with our mission,” Lloyd said.