A Tennessee missionary known as "Mom" in the children's home she ran in Haiti was gunned down behind the wheel of her car Saturday night, and a child around the age of 4 with her was kidnapped, Haiti's National Police tell NBC News. Per witness and official accounts, Roberta Edwards, a 55-year-old missionary from the Estes Church of Christ and administrator of Port-au-Prince's Sonlight Children's Home, was shot and killed by unknown gunmen after another car purposely blocked her path, the Jackson Sun reports. Three children were with her at the time, Edwards' friend and fellow missionary Bobbie Solley tells the Sun. "Two of the boys got away from the gunmen and ran for help," she says. "A 4-year-old boy was taken. We haven't heard a word about him yet." Edwards took care of not only the 20 orphaned or abandoned kids in her charge at the home: She also ran a local nutrition center that provided meals to 160 children five days a week, the Sun notes.
The president of a Nashville religious group that worked with Edwards tells CBS News that Edwards "knew it was a dangerous place and she took precautions," including carrying a handgun, but "it just didn't work out for her this time." In a statement on its website, the Estes Church say it plans on "continuing the battle against Satan in Haiti." Meanwhile, an Estes minister says he thinks this was an isolated event and that church members aren't being specifically targeted, but he adds "we're being cautious." A team of missionaries from the church that had arrived Friday to help Edwards out was sent back home; a smaller group will go back to counsel the kids in the home, WBBJ reports. Solley, who had never felt threatened before, adds her job there is done and that "I wouldn't go back." In the meantime, she mourns: "She was a fabulous woman. … Her only concern was the children of Haiti and the children she was caring for." (Haiti went after a missionary a few years back for trying to take children out of the country.)