Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mystery Shrouds Missionary Slaying, Child Abduction in Haiti

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mystery Shrouds Missionary Slaying, Child Abduction in Haiti

Article excerpt

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti * No ransom demand has been received since gunmen snatched a 4-year-old boy over the weekend and killed the American missionary who had raised him since he was a severely malnourished infant, church officials said Wednesday.

Longtime Haiti-based missionary Roberta Edwards was fatally shot by two attackers who cut off her car on a rutted, dirt road Saturday near the foster care home and food-distribution site she has run on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince since 2002. She was returning from a gas station with three of her young charges.

The Estes Church of Christ in Henderson, Tenn., which sponsored Edwards' work at the Sonlight Children's Home, said her two teenage passengers managed to escape after she told them to run for their lives.

Edwards was shot multiple times at the wheel of her car, and the gunmen then grabbed terrified youngster Jonathan "JoJo" Paul and sped off in a vehicle with tinted windows, fellow missionaries said.

"Hearts are breaking for him. And we certainly hope that whoever took him, wherever he is, whoever has him, will return him as soon as possible," said Larry Waymire, a longtime colleague and friend of Edwards, 55.

Police have given only the broadest outline of the case and no details of the investigation. The motive behind the killing and apparent kidnapping remains unclear.

Harold Pirtle, a church elder who traveled from Tennessee to comfort the children at the home run by Edwards in Croix-des- Bouquets, said she was well aware of the dangers in Haiti. She had lived in the impoverished country for two decades, initially moving there with her husband, a Haitian. …

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