Florida couple kidnapped in Haiti, held for ransom
“They stopped the bus at a stop and then asked for Americans to get off the bus and their escorts off the bus, and then they took them,” said Christie Desormes, their nice
March 27, 2023 8:38am
Updated: March 27, 2023 8:38am
A Florida couple visiting Haiti was kidnapped last week and is being held for ransom, their family says.
Jean-Dickens Toussaint and his wife, Abigail Toussaint, from Tamarac in Broward County Florida were visiting Haiti to visit family and attend a festival. However, on March 18, the couple was kidnapped while riding a bus to Leogan, about 27 miles from the capital of Port-au-Prince.
“They stopped the bus at a stop and then asked for Americans to get off the bus and their escorts off the bus, and then they took them,” Christie Desormes, their nice, told WPLG.
“I’m still in a state of shock,” the couple’s niece added. “It feels like it didn’t happen, but I know it did, especially since I saw them last month for my birthday.”
Their family said they already paid $6,000 in ransom. However, their kidnappers are now demanding more than $200,000 per person.
“Once we sent that money, they tried to up the price to $200,000 per person and we don’t have that type of money,” Christie told WPLG.
The State Department said on Sunday that it was aware of two Americans that had gone missing in Haiti.
“The U.S. Department of State and our embassies and consulates abroad have no greater priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas. We are aware of reports of two U.S. citizens missing in Haiti,” a State Department spokesperson said on Sunday.
“When a U.S. citizen is missing, we work closely with local authorities as they carry out their search efforts, and we share information with families however we can. We have nothing further to share at this time,” the statement continued.
As of Dec. 1, 2022, the U.S. State Department has urged Americans not to travel to Haiti due to the gang-related violence that has increased following the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise in July of 2021.
“U.S. citizens should depart Haiti now in light of the current security and health situation and infrastructure challenges,” the Level 4 advisory reads.