March 18, 2010 in Nation/World

Haiti parents reclaim kids handed to missionaries

Michelle Faul Associated Press
 

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Joyful parents on Wednesday recovered the children that they gave to American missionaries about six weeks ago.

The 33 children had been living at the SOS Orphanage on Port-au-Prince’s outskirts since police stopped a group of 10 U.S. Baptist missionaries from taking them across the Dominican border Jan. 29 following Haiti’s devastating earthquake.

Orphanage officials said all but one of the children were given back to 22 families. A remaining child, whose age and gender were not given, is awaiting further verification of her parents’ identities.

The lengthly verification process, led by Haitian social services authorities, is why the reunifications took so long, orphanage spokeswoman Line Wolf Nielsen said. The Associated Press determined informally that all 33 had at least one living parent in February.

Nine of the 10 Baptist missionaries involved in the case have been released from jail and left Haiti. Group leader Laura Silsby remains in custody at the police station that is being used as Haiti’s temporary government headquarters.

Judge Bernard Saint-Vil said all could still be called to trial, and last week levied a new charge against Silsby based on allegations she had tried to take a different group of children to the border days earlier.

He heard new testimony Wednesday from the police commissioner who arrested the group at the border crossing.

© Copyright 2010 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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