Missionary Ordered Released, But Silsby Left In Haitian Jail to Wonder

March 6, 2010

(ChattahBox)—A Haitian judge ordered the release of one of the two remaining Baptist missionaries, charged with kidnapping and criminal association, from a Haitian jail on Friday. Charisa Coulter, 24, a member of an Idaho Baptist church, has been jailed since January when she was arrested along with nine other evangelicals trying to cross the border into the Dominican Republic with 33 Haitian children, without proper documentation. Last month, eight of the charged missionaries were allowed to leave Haiti without bond, but may have to return as the kidnapping investigation continues. The group’s leader, Laura Silsby will remain in a Haitian jail cell, until authorities can document her activities during prior trips made to Haiti, as she prepared her plans to “gather 100 orphans” off of the streets of the quake-ravaged country.

Coulter, who works as Silsby’s nanny, will have to remain in the jail cell in the capital of Port-au-Prince until Monday, because court administrators misplaced the official stamp needed to validate judge Bernard Sainvil’s order. “I already signed the release order. All that is left now is to seal it but they cannot find the official stamp,” said Sainvil.

The case of the ten Baptist missionaries scooping up Haitian children, many of whom weren’t even orphans, raised the issue of child trafficking in disaster prone third-world countries. And the case also shined a light on evangelicals proselytizing in a Catholic country, under the guise of charity. Silsby and her group promised many of the parents of the impoverished children that their children would be schooled and properly fed. Silsby also promoted the fact that her New Life Refuge orphanage; located in a 45-room seaside hotel in Cabarete, Dominican Republic, had a swimming pool.

“The ten evangelicals, eight of whom are from two Idaho Southern Baptist churches, claimed that they were rescuing the children, many who weren’t even orphans, in the name of Jesus. Laura Silsby, the leader of the group claimed, “We have been sent by the Lord to rescue these children, and if it’s in the Lord’s plan we will be successful.”

Once Coulter is released on Monday, Laura Silsby, 40, owner of a failed online personal shopping site, who left Idaho for Haiti with numerous civil lawsuits pending against her, will be left alone in the cramped jail cell in Port-au-Prince, to wonder how her ambitious plans to kidnap Haitian children for Jesus all went wrong.


5 Responses to “Missionary Ordered Released, But Silsby Left In Haitian Jail to Wonder”

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  5. Lorella Rouster on March 14th, 2010 10:53 pm

    One wonders how many children will suffer and die as those trying to help them are discouraged in this manner.
    One wonders how the missionaries were supposed to know that these particular children weren’t orphans, given the state of confusion existing in Haiti. Had they had a chance to help them, they may have eventually found out the whereabouts of the parents and even been able to return them.
    One wonders why evangelical missionaries are not granted freedom to proclaim their message just because many people in the country are Catholic. No freedom of religion for evangelicals to share their message? That’s now a crime?
    Child traffickers should be rigorously pursued, but one wonders if officials are not wasting time and resources on a group that was really trying to help.

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