MIAMI – Family members of a South Florida couple got less than five minutes to speak with their loved ones over the weekend as they remained captive after being kidnapped while on a family visit to the country.
The pair, Jean Dickens Toussaint and his wife Abigail Toussaint, have been held hostage since last Saturday, with their captors demanding a high ransom.
Niece Christie Desormes said the couple, from Tamarac, went to Haiti to visit family and to attend a festival but were kidnapped on their bus ride from Port-au-Prince.
Desormes, along with Jean’s sister, Nikese Toussaint, spoke to Local 10 News on Monday.
“They would give them their phone to talk to a family member,” Nikese Toussaint said.
The captors then told the pair to “call like the first person you have from your like recent list,” Desormes said.
Their kidnappers originally demanded a $6,000 ransom, which the family paid, and raised it to $200,000 afterward.
Loved ones have been working closely with the U.S. Embassy in Haiti and the FBI.
Unfortunately, no one has been able to get back in touch with Jean and Abigail Toussaint since that initial incoming call Sunday.
There was some fear on the family’s part going into the trip, given the political unrest and gang violence that has been raging in the country for a while.
The couple has a son who turns 2 on Tuesday.
“It’s so sad,” Desormes said. “We have been talking to the baby a lot, we get a couple smiles in when we speak to him, but we also get really sad.”
Several local officials in South Florida tell Local 10 News they are monitoring the case.