A couple from Florida is visiting Port-au-Prince, Haiti According to family members, they are being held for ransom after being kidnapped.
Jean Dickens Toussaint and Abigail Toussaint, 33, were reportedly abducted from a bus on March 18 while visiting sick relatives and attending a local festival.
The kidnappers of the US citizen allegedly demanded $6,000 for the pair’s release, family members told ABC Miami. After family members paid the ransom, the kidnappers increased the ransom to $200,000 each, family members said.
“We don’t have that kind of money,” Jean Dickens Toussaint’s sister, Nikes Toussaint, told ABC Miami.
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A family friend who met the couple at the airport to escort them was also kidnapped, the couple’s niece told ABC Miami.
“They stopped the bus at the bus stop and asked the Americans who were on the bus and their escort to get off the bus, after which they were taken away,” she said.
The US Department of State said they were aware of reports of missing American citizens in Haiti and shared that the department would work with local authorities to locate the missing couple.
“We are aware of reports of two US citizens missing in Haiti,” a State Department spokesperson said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “When a US citizen is missing, we work closely with local authorities as they search, and we share information with families as soon as we can.”
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Haiti is again struggling with a surge in gangland kidnappings that have eased since President Jovenel Moise was fatally shot at his private residence on July 7 and after Earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2 which hit southwestern Haiti in August and killed more than 2,200 people.
The gangs have grown in strength and demanded ransoms ranging from a few hundred dollars to more than $1 million, authorities said.
The security situation has worsened in recent months with regular shootouts between police and gangs. The bloody battles left hundreds dead and thousands displaced.
Seventeen missionaries from the United States and Canada were taken hostage and held for ransom in 2021 during a trip to Haiti organized by Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries. The group said a ransom was paid to free the captives, but a dozen escaped on their own.
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The Haitian National Police did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
Reuters contributed to this report.