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FBI leads search for Ohio-based missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 10:40 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - In a series of frantic messages sent via WhatsApp, members of the Ohio-based missionary group kidnapped in Haiti painted a terrifying picture of their abduction.

“Please pray for us, we’re being harassed/kidnapped,” someone wrote. “They have control of our vehicle.”

The texts were obtained by CBS news.

On Sunday, 17 workers representing Christian Aid Ministries were abducted by what is believed to be a notorious Haitian gang.

The organization is based in Holmes County, between Akron and Columbus.

The agency has not said where the people are from, but U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, who lives in Cleveland, suggested some are from the area.

“A number of them are from Holmes County. We don’t have names of people or actual numbers yet,” Brown said on Monday. “We pray for them and equally as important, the government, the State Department and the Defense Department will stand with them and do whatever it takes to make sure they’re safe.”

White Press Secretary Jen Psaki said President Biden has been briefed.

“The FBI is part of a coordinated U.S. government effort to get the U.S. citizens involved to safety,” she said. “Due to operational considerations, we’re not going to go into too much detail on that but can confirm their engagement. The U.S. embassy in Port-Au-Prince is coordinating with local authorities and providing assistance to the families to resolve the situation.”

There is no known motive for the abduction.

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