U.S. missionary kidnapped in Haiti

/ Source: The Associated Press

Kidnappers seized a U.S. missionary as he left his church in northern Haiti and demanded a $5,000 ransom for his release, U.N. officials and relatives said Tuesday.

The Rev. Pritchard Adams III, a 24-year resident of Haiti, was kidnapped Sunday night in the northern town of Cap-Haitien, U.N. police spokesman Fred Blaze said.

Four men grabbed Adams, his wife and a Haitian groundskeeper as they left Adams’ church, Blaze said. The kidnappers drove the three to a secluded area, released Adams’ wife and the groundskeeper and sped off with Adams.

Adams’ mother, Lucy Adams, said the kidnappers contacted her son’s wife and demanded $80,000 for his release. They later lowered the demand to $5,000.

The kidnappers allowed her son to speak with his wife but insisted he speak in Creole so they could understand, Lucy Adams said by phone from her home in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

“He said they (the captors) weren’t mean and ugly to him. He wasn’t harmed in any way,” she said.

Lucy Adams said officials from the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti and the FBI have been in contact with her daughter-in-law, who was arranging to pay the ransom.

“She just sent me an e-mail saying ’please pray for us because we’re going to take the money to a certain spot and later on they’re going to release them,”’ Lucy Adams said from Fayetteville, N.C.

Lucy Adams said her son went to Haiti when he was 26 to work as principle of a Christian school. He later moved to Cap-Haitien to become a missionary, running his first church out of a World War II medical tent.

Foreign missionaries have recently become targets for kidnappings, which flourished in the aftermath of the February 2004 revolt that toppled former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Though kidnappings are common in Haiti’s violent capital of Port-au-Prince, the crimes have been rarer in the outlying provinces.