American nurse Alix Dorsainvil and her daughter were freed Wednesday, nearly two weeks after they were kidnapped in Haiti’s capital, according to aid organization El Roi Haiti.
The Christian group founded by Dorsainvil’s husband asked that neither she nor her family be contacted: "There is still much to process and to heal from in this situation," the group said in a statement.
The group added that it confirmed the safe release "with a heart of gratitude and immense joy." No other details were immediately available, including whether any ransom was paid.
United Nations vehicles arrive ahead of a press conference by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in Port-au-Prince on July 1, 2023. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres arrived in Haiti on Saturday for a lightning visit, saying "this is not the
The organization told The Associated Press in a brief response that it would comment on the situation in upcoming days and asked for patience "as the community processes and heals."
The clinic where Dorsainvil and her daughter were kidnapped from was closed on Wednesday, and people in the neighborhood said they hadn't heard the news that they had been released. They declined to talk, saying they wanted to see her first.
The U.S. State Department said it welcomed news that the two had been freed and thanked its Haitian and U.S. interagency partners for facilitating the release.
"We have no greater priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas," the agency said. "As you can imagine, these individuals have been through a very difficult ordeal, both physically and mentally."
Officials provided no other details.
Witnesses told The Associated Press that armed men had seized the New Hampshire native and her young daughter in late July from a clinic in a gang-controlled area of Port-au-Prince where Dorsainvil works.
The Christian group has offered medical care, education and other basic services to people in the country’s poorest areas.
Gang warfare has increasingly plagued Haiti since the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. Gang members regularly kill, rape and hold residents for ransom. A local nonprofit has documented 539 kidnappings since January, a significant rise over previous years.
On July 27, the U.S. State Department had ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. government personnel from Haiti, which remains under a "do not travel" advisory.
In a video posted on the El Roi Haiti website, Dorsainvil describes Haitians as "full of joy, and life and love," people she was blessed to know.
In a blog post, El Roi Haiti said Dorsainvil fell in love with Haiti’s people on a visit there after the devastating 2010 earthquake hit the Caribbean nation.
Dorsainvil graduated from Regis College in Weston, Massachusetts, where a program supports nursing education in Haiti.
The college's president, Antoinette Hays, said the community was relieved to hear of the safe release of Dorsainvil and her daughter. "We send our prayers and continued support to her family and friends as they begin the healing process from this experience."