Nonprofit Organization Claims an American Nurse and Her Child Have Been Abducted in Haiti

On Thursday, the group she works for reported that an American woman and her child had been kidnapped from outside of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Alix Dorsainvil, 31, is the wife of the organization’s director, Sandro Dorsainvil, and originally hails from New Hampshire.

A member of the staff at El Roi Haiti Outreach International, a Christian aid organization, was abducted on Thursday, the organization said. On Saturday, the group revealed her name as Alix Dorsainvil and claimed that they had also abducted the couple’s child. Dorsainvil is the community health nurse for the company.

On Thursday morning, Dorsainvil and her kid were taken from El Roi Haiti’s campus in the suburbs of Port-au-Prince “while serving in our community ministry,” according to a statement on the organization’s website. They hadn’t been seen since Friday.

Alix is a deeply compassionate and loving person who considers Haiti her home and the Haitian people her friends and family,” the statement said. “Alix has worked tirelessly as our school and community nurse to bring relief to those who are suffering as she loves and serves the people of Haiti in the name of Jesus.”

The tweet below verifies the news:

The U.S. State Department issued an evacuation order for non-emergency personnel at the U.S. embassy in Port-au-Prince on Thursday and urged all U.S. citizens in Haiti to leave. “We are aware of reports of the kidnapping of two U.S. citizens in Haiti,” the State Department’s press office wrote in an unsigned email on Saturday.

We are in constant communication with the appropriate Haitian authorities and will keep working with them and our interagency counterparts in the United States administration. There is currently nothing else we can say. Dorsainvil’s father said the family had been requested not to speak to the media while negotiations were still underway, therefore he declined to elaborate.

Human rights activists say the kidnapping is part of a bigger spate of abductions and murders in Haiti. Earlier this month, the National Human Rights Defense Network said that at least 40 individuals had been kidnapped and 75 dead between May 1 and July 12.

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Blondine Tanis, a Haitian journalist, was seized as she returned home from the radio station where she works a few days before Dorsainvil was taken hostage, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

The assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Mose in July 2021 was followed by widespread destruction from an earthquake the following month. Since Mose’s murder two years ago, kidnappings have skyrocketed, and violent gangs have amassed influence.

The international community has failed to handle escalating gang violence in Haiti, but on Saturday Kenya declared it will head a global police team to “help train and assist Haitian police restore normalcy in the country and protect strategic installations.”

The hunt for a country prepared to take leadership of such a force, which was sought by Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry in October, ended with the declaration. It has been anticipated by international officials that as many as 10,000 personnel, primarily from foreign police agencies rather than armed forces, would be needed.

Several Caribbean countries have already committed troops, while Kenya has pledged to send 1,000. It is anticipated that law enforcement officers from other countries would also participate. The multinational group does not need approval from the United Nations Security Council like a UN peacekeeping force would. Kenya, however, has signaled its intention to seek a council mandate.

Nonprofit Organization Claims an American Nurse and Her Child Have Been Abducted in Haiti (1)

Kenya also announced that “within the next few weeks,” an assessment team comprised of police officers would travel to Haiti to “inform and guide the mandate and operational requirements” of the upcoming deployment.

A travel recommendation issued by the State Department on Thursday strongly advised against travel to Haiti due to “kidnapping, crime, civil unrest, and poor health care infrastructure.” The U.S. government reports that this Caribbean island has been hit hard by violence and turmoil, petroleum and medical supply shortages, and a persistent cholera outbreak.

Recently, those working at the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti were told they were unable to leave the compound and were banned “from walking in Port-au-Prince.” The State Department issued a directive prohibiting American citizens from using any kind of public transportation, taxis, banking, ATMs, nighttime driving, or unapproved travel.

“U.S. citizens in Haiti should depart Haiti as soon as possible,” the advisory reads. The State Department issued a warning that modern kidnappers employ complex strategies, often hold victims for ransom, and occasionally resort to violence. The travel advisory warns that kidnappings are commonplace and that American citizens are frequently among the victims.

Dorsainvil “has been living and working in Haiti for some time now,” Jason Brown, El Roi president and co-founder, said in an email. “Our team at El Roi Haiti is grateful for the outpouring of prayers, care, and support for our colleague. We continue to work with our partners and trusted relationships to secure their safe return.”

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According to the school, she earned her nursing degree in 2014 from Regis College, a private institution located in Weston, Massachusetts. Regis has had programs in Haiti for over a decade, according to an interview with school president Antoinette Hays.

Hays said she wasn’t surprised that Dorsainvil wanted to work in the country given Regis’ ties to it, despite the fact that the institution does not send undergraduate students there. Sandro and Alix Dorsainvil look to be holding hands in a photo on El Roi’s website, which also features rolling green hills in the backdrop.

My name is Alix. I’m a nurse from New Hampshire, but now I live in Haiti,” Dorsainvil says in a video about her work on the organization’s website. “Sandro invited me to come to the school to do some nursing for some of the kids. He said that was a big need they had.”

The director of El Roi, Sandro Dorsainvil, had a difficult childhood in Port-au-Prince but eventually graduated with a degree in developmental psychology and biblical counseling and began working with El Roi’s religious, literacy, and vocational programs for children and adults.

In 2014, he completed high school at Montana’s Lustre Christian High. The pair married in January of 2021, started working at El Roi, and fostered two girls, according to the school’s 2021 alumni newsletter. The couple’s wedding vows, captured on film and uploaded to YouTube, frequently mention the couple’s Christian faith and the intensity of their relationship.

Sandro Dorsainvil said to his new bride as they stood before a wooden crucifix covered in white flowers, “There is no life that I’d like to live without you by my side.” It is a privilege and a delight to have you at my side while I devote my life to God. In her vows, Alix said: “It’s been an amazing journey doing life in Haiti with you and watching the Lord work miracles before our eyes.”

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