Haitian Parents Turned Over Kids to US Baptists
Villagers contradict missionaries' account
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 4, 2010 5:05 AM CST
Melanie Augustin, 58, poses for a photo in the rebuilt area of her home in the mountain village of Callebas, Haiti, where children were taken away by American missionaries.   (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)
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(Newser) – Parents in an earthquake-devastated Haitian mountain village who feared their children would starve handed the kids over to the American missionaries accused of trafficking, villagers said yesterday, contradicting the Baptist group's claim that the children were turned over by orphanages or distant relatives. Many of the parents said they won't be able to feed the children if they are returned.

The villagers told AP that a local orphanage worker speaking on behalf of the American group gathered the entire village last week to present their offer. Hearing that their children would be educated in the neighboring Dominican Republic, many desperate parents jumped at the offer. "It's only because the bus was full that more children didn't go," said one villager. The missionaries' lawyer confirmed yesterday that the group "willingly accepted kids they knew were not orphans because the parents said they would starve otherwise."