Hostages Are Safe, Escapee Says

Two days after escaping from Kashmiri separatists, American John Childs said Monday that the other three hostages he was held with are safe and praying to be freed.

One of the remaining hostages is Spokane psychologist Donald F. Hutchings, 42.

His wife, 40-year-old Jane Schelly of Spokane, was held briefly by the militants but was released last Wednesday, a day after the group was taken hostage. Hutchings and Schelly are avid mountain climbers. They were on a five-week trip to India before they were taken captive.

Hutchings, a longtime Spokane resident whose father lives in Coeur d’Alene, taught classes for the Spokane Mountaineers Club. Schelly is a past president of the club.

Childs said the remaining hostages are well.

“They are in good health and are holding out bravely,” Childs said after arriving in New Delhi on a flight from Kashmir, a Himalayan Mountain region in northern India.

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