A Florida couple has reportedly been kidnapped in Haiti and is being held for hundreds of thousands of dollars in ransom.
Jean-Dickens Toussaint and his wife Abigail Toussaint, both 33, have been held hostage since Saturday, Miami ABC News affiliate WPLG reported.
The couple’s niece, who identified herself as Christie but did not give her last name, said the couple traveled to Haiti to visit family and attend a festival. They were reportedly abducted on a bus ride from the capital Port-au-Prince.
“They stopped the bus at a stop and then asked the Americans to get off the bus and their escorts to get off the bus and then they took them away,” Christie told the news channel. She said the kidnappers initially demanded $6,000, which the family paid, but the ransom later increased to $200,000 per person.
“We don’t have that kind of money,” Christie told WPLG.
The US State Department had little information to share.
“The U.S. Department of State and our embassies and consulates abroad have no higher priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens abroad,” a spokesperson told Law&Crime in a statement sent. by e-mail. “We are aware of reports of two US citizens missing in Haiti. When a US citizen is reported missing, we work closely with local authorities as they conduct their search, and we share information with families as much as possible. We don’t have anything else to share at this time.
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Nikese Toussaint, Jean-Dickens Toussaint’s sister, told ABC News that family members did not know how to reach police in Haiti, but they contacted the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. Department of Security. interior.
She also said they feared the couple would make the trip due to political unrest and gang violence. The State Department currently has a “Do Not Travel” advisory for Americans planning to travel to Haiti.
“We were very worried when they said they were leaving, we told them not to go but they wanted to go,” she told ABC News.
The Toussaints have a one-year-old son who was not on the trip with them, said Nikese Toussaint. The couple are from Tamarac, about 30 miles north of Miami.
The couple’s niece, Christie, told WPLG she struggled to stay positive.
“I have the worst-case scenario in my mind, but I keep trying to dismiss it because I don’t want it to happen,” she told the station.
“We just want to hear their voices as proof that they are still alive,” she also said.
Online petition organized by Christie pleads for couple’s safe return
“They are US citizens,” the petition reads. “They are parents. They are brothers and sisters. They are my family. They are loved and above all they are people who desperately need your help.
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