*An American couple visiting Haiti was kidnapped a week ago and is being held hostage for ransom. Now family members say Jean-Dickens Toussaint and his wife, Abigail Toussaint, were warned not to travel to the country.
According to ABC News, the couple from Tamarac, Florida, traveled to Haiti to visit sick relatives. They were kidnapped Saturday while traveling on a bus from Port-au-Prince. A family member who meet the couple at the airport, a niece named Christie, was also kidnapped but presumably released.
“They stopped the bus at a stop and they asked for the Americans on the bus and their escorts to come off the bus and then they took them,” Christie told ABC Miami affiliate WPLG.
Nikese Toussaint, the sister of Jean Dickens Toussaint, told ABC News that the family initially paid the kidnappers’ initial demand of $6000 for the couple’s release. But after the money was sent, the price went up to $200,000 per person. Christie told WPLG, “we don’t have that type of money.”
HI I NEED YOUR HELP PLEASE!!! My Aunt, ABIGAIL TOUSSAINT and my uncle JEAN-DICKENS TOUSSAINT were kidnapped in the Port-au-Prince area in Haiti on Saturday March 18th!!! Can you sign this petition and call your local representatives to do something – https://t.co/0MsjYX6hC8
— CHRISTIE (@christiend06) March 22, 2023
The family members have revealed that they urged the couple not to travel to Haiti due to the crime and gang violence.
“We were very worried when they said they were going, we told them not to go but they wanted to go,” Nikese Toussaint said.
“I do have the worst-case scenario playing in my head, but I keep trying to reject it because I don’t want that to happen,” Christie told WPLG.
“We just want to hear their voice as proof that they are still alive,” she said.
Jean-Dickens Toussaint and his wife, Abigail Toussaint (Credit: Change.org)
Per ABC Chicago, the State Department issued an advisory warning to Americans not to travel to Haiti “due to kidnapping, crime, and civil unrest.”
“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,” the U.S. Department of State said. “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 added.
The couple has a young son who was not traveling with them at the time of the kidnapping. The child is reportedly in the care of relatives.
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