Haitian-American couple from South Florida kidnapped in Haiti has been released

A Haitian-American couple from Tamarac who spent more than three weeks in captivity in Haiti after being kidnapped has finally been released, a relative confirmed to the Miami Herald.

Nikese Toussaint said her brother Jean-Dickens Toussaint and his wife, Abigail, were both released around 11 a.m. Thursday. She did not provide any other details, including whether or not a ransom was paid to secure the couple’s freedom. Haitian media reported that an undisclosed amount was paid for their freedom.

Gang members holding hostage the Toussaints and a cousin had asked for $200,000 per person in ransom after the family had paid an initial $6,000. The couple was kidnapped on March 18 in Port-au-Prince while on their way to the city of Leogane to visit an ailing relative and attend Rara, a colorful pre-Easter celebration, when they were abducted in Martissant. The gang-controlled neighborhood is one of Haiti’s most dangerous and has been closed to commuter traffic since June of 2021 due to kidnappings and gang violence.

The couple’s abduction, which generated media attention, was a reminder of how dangerous Haiti has become for even U.S. citizens, who are being urged by the State Department to not travel to the Caribbean nation and to leave if they are currently there. According to the Port-au-Prince based Center for Analysis and Research in Human Rights, Haiti has seen a 173% spike in kidnappings since the beginning of this year, compared to the same time period last year.