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26785: Wharram (news) Tampa Resident Abducted In Haiti (fwd)
From Bruce Wharram <email@example.com>
The Tampa Tribune
Tuesday, December 6, 2005
Tampa Resident Abducted In Haiti
By NICOLA M. WHITE firstname.lastname@example.org
Published: Dec 6, 2005
A north Tampa man taking supplies to an orphanage in his native Haiti was
kidnapped in its capital city on Saturday, the orphanage co-founder said.
Armed men pulled Daniel Thelusmar, 26, out of a van traveling through the
streets of Port-au-Prince, a city wracked by poverty and instability. The
men also shot and injured the Canadian orphanage director, who was traveling
with Thelusmar, said Nelson Ryman, of Zephyrhills, who helped found the
Thelusmar has a wife and 19-month-old daughter in Tampa. A deeply spiritual
man, he has been involved with several evangelical Christian projects,
especially in Haiti, Ryman said.
The woman who answered the door at Thelusmar's north Tampa apartment Monday
afternoon said she did not want to comment.
Ryman said the kidnappers have demanded $10,000.
Ryman, a retired mobile home park owner and businessman, is traveling to
Haiti today to try to help his friends. Orphanage director Ed Hughes had to
have his right arm amputated from the elbow as a result of the shooting,
Haiti's political and economic stability has plummeted in the past year,
with travel there becoming increasingly dangerous. In November, the U.S.
Department of State issued a warning for American travelers about the
country's "volatile security situation," urging Americans not to visit.
The nation's deep poverty makes it hard for missionaries to stay away.
"It's really hard to comprehend," Ryman said. "I see starvation every time I
Ryman recently won a $31,000 grant from Rotary Club International to buy a
truck for the orphanage, Tytoo Gardens, in Simonette, a small, poor fishing
village north of Port-au-Prince. The orphanage houses 17 children. Every
day, 120 to 150 children from the village eat a hot meal there - often their
only meal of the day, he said.
The truck would help transport the children from the orphanage to school and
In Florida, Thelusmar joined with Ryman to bring parts for the new truck to
Thelusmar arrived in Port-au-Prince on Saturday morning. Hughes, the
orphanage director, collected him from the airport. The pair drove through a
rough part of the capital city when men surrounded their van. Hughes was
shot in the arm. He was left on the side of the road, Ryman said.
That's when Thelusmar went missing.
Thelusmar's family has received chilling phone calls from the kidnappers.
Thelusmar was born in Haiti and came to the United States in his early 20s
on a visa sponsored by an American man involved with missionary work in the
Caribbean, Ryman said.
Although Thelusmar is a legal U.S. resident, he is not an American citizen.
The U.S. Department of State is limited in its powers when trying to help
non-American citizens in trouble abroad, a department spokeswoman said.