American couple Abigail and Jean-Dickens Toussaint were kidnapped in Haiti during a visit to the volatile Caribbean nation. Though the victims’ family reportedly paid an initial $6,000 ransom following their abduction in March, the kidnappers refused to release the couple and attempted to increase the amount to $200,000.
According to CNN, the couple’s relatives are pleading for help and asking US officials to locate them. “Please share this and get the word out as much as you can,” the family members said in a statement. They also said it is their hope that the couple will safely return “to their child and family.”
A niece of the victims also said the couple was in a bus when they were kidnapped in the Caribbean nation’s capital city of Port-au-Prince. She explained that they had traveled to the country to visit family members and also attend a festival.
“They stopped the bus at a stop and then asked for Americans to get off the bus… and then they took them,” she told WPLG. However, after the family paid the initial $6,000 ransom, she said the kidnappers “tried to up the price to $200,000 per person and we don’t have that type of money.”
In a statement, a US State Department spokesperson told the news outlet that 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 added. “We have nothing further to share at this time.”