Eight Baptists Released From Haitian Prison, Silsby and Coulter Stay Behind
February 17, 2010
(ChattahBox)—News coming out of Haiti today indicates that eight of the ten Baptist missionaries held in prison for kidnapping Haitian children, will be freed on Wednesday and be allowed to return home to the United States. The misguided Baptists, many of them from two churches in Idaho, came to Haiti to gather up orphans from the quake ravaged country and take them across the border to a hotel-orphanage in the Dominican Republic. It was later found that most of the 33 children the group loaded on a bus to cross the border, were not even orphans and had living parents.
Haitian Judge Bernard Saint-Vil said eight of the ten missionaries, being held in a jail cell in Port-au-Prince, would be allowed to return home without posting bail, if they agreed to return to Haiti for the ongoing investigation. Charges against the eight Baptist missionaries would not be dropped, but they would be freed on unconditional bail without bond and be allowed to leave Haiti. The charges of kidnapping and criminal association would remain in place.
The group’s leader Laura Silsby would remain behind, with her nanny Charisa Coulter of Boise, Idaho to face the charges behind bars. Silsby and Coulter formed The New Life Refuge with the stated goal to:
“[R]escue Haitian orphans abandoned on the streets, makeshift hospitals or from collapsed orphanages in Port au Prince and surrounding areas, and bring them to New Life Children’s Refuge in Cabarete, Dominican Republic.”
The New Life refuge was a 45-room seaside hotel Silsby was renting to house the Haitian children. Silsby and her group of evangelicals planned to stay in Haiti just long enough to “gather 100 orphans” and move them out of the country. The mission statement of New Life Refuge stated that it would “provide opportunities for adoption.”
Silsby said that she was on a humanitarian mission to rescue orphans in the name of Jesus, but many of the 33 children were taken from their parents, with their parents consent hoping for a better life for their children.
“We have been sent by the Lord to rescue these children, and if it’s in the Lord’s plan we will be successful,” said Silsby.
According to CNN, the eight missionaries would be allowed to leave Haiti immediately. They have been held in a small jail cell for nearly a month since their arrest.
Silsby and Coulter could be held for an additional two-months while Haitian authorities continue to investigate the charges against them.