A Florida couple has been kidnapped in Haiti and remains captive under ransom demands, family members say, who are asking for help and pressuring US officials to find them.
Abigail and Jean-Dickens Toussaint, both 33, were kidnapped on March 18 around Port-au-Prince, the nation’s capital, according to a statement from their families provided to CNN.
“Please share this and get the word out as much as you can,” the statement says, hoping the two return safe “to their child and family.”
A US State Department spokesperson told CNN they are “aware of reports of two U.S. citizens missing in Haiti.”
“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,” the spokesperson said. “We have nothing further to share at this time.”
The couple went to Haiti to visit family and to attend a festival but were kidnapped on their bus ride from Port-au-Prince, according to a woman named Christie, claiming to be the victims’ niece.
“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,” she told CNN affiliate WPLG.
The kidnappers asked for $6,000 for the couple’s release, but after their family paid, they asked for more money, WPLG reports.
“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.
CNN has reached out to authorities in Haiti for more information but has not received a response.