Freed Missionaries Land in Miami

Two remain in Haitian custody
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 18, 2010 5:43 AM CST
Nicole Lanford, 18, right, and Carla Thompson, 53, two of the American missionaries charged with child kidnapping, are driven away from a Haitian jail in Port-au-Prince, Wednesday Feb. 17, 2010.    (Ramon Espinosa)
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(Newser) – Eight bedraggled, sweat-stained American missionaries landed in Miami early this morning aboard a military cargo plane after nearly three weeks in a Haitian jail. "They're very tired," said Caleb Stegall, a district attorney in Kansas who has been helping some of the missionaries. "They've had quite an ordeal and they're obviously looking forward to a soft bed, a hot meal and a warm shower." Two others remained detained in an ordeal sparked by the group's attempt to take 33 children out of the earthquake-stricken country.

The group's departure from Haiti was set in motion yesterday when Judge Bernard Saint-Vil said eight of the 10 missionaries were free to leave without bail because parents of the children had testified they voluntarily gave their children to the missionaries believing the Americans would give them a better life. He said, however, that he still wanted to question the group's leader, Laura Silsby, and her former nanny, Charisa Coulter, because they had visited Haiti prior to the quake to inquire about obtaining orphans.

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