February 4th, 2010
09:10 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Americans Charged with Kidnapping

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

The 10 Americans detained in Haiti for trying to take 33 children out of the country have been charged with kidnapping and criminal association

The news came after the five men and five women left a two-hour hearing at a prosecutor's office.

The missionaries said nothing to reporters when they left the meeting, but some sang hymns.

The Americans are back in jail tonight in Port-au-Prince. They could be there for some time, because under Haitian law anyone charged with kidnapping is not eligible for bail.

The group tried to take the children into the Dominican Republic last Friday and were stopped at the border.

Some parents told CNN they willingly gave their children to the Americans, who promised they'd have a better life.

Tonight on 360°, we have troubling new details on their journey and how the Americans allegedly went about it.

Back here in the U.S., fraud charges have been filed against Bank of America's former CEO, Ken Lewis and former CFO, Joe Price. They're accused of misleading shareholders about Merrill Lynch's losses when the bank purchased the company earlier this year.

Bank of the America calls the lawsuit by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo "totally without merit" and "regrettable."

These are civil charges. There can be no jail time. Why not? We'll talk about the legal battle with CNN's legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

We'll also take you inside the Tea Party convention in Nashville, Tennessee. We'll look at who is there and who is not. We'll also help you get a sense of the movement that could shape the November mid-term elections.

Join us for these stories and much more at 10 p.m. ET.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (98 Responses)
  1. Annie

    In two words... Spiritual Diva.

    February 4, 2010 at 11:23 pm |
  2. Phoenise

    Anderson being Haitian and a mom i'm very sensitive on the subject of children everywhere especially back home. i cant imagine what they wanted to do with the kids. good intentions or not the law is the law everywhere.

    February 4, 2010 at 11:22 pm |
  3. phil

    I really believe nine of the group really got suckered in by Laura Silsby.
    Not speaking Creole, they had no choice but to believe everything Ms Silsby told them.

    I hope Ms Silsby gets prosecuted all the way as an example for others, but that the others will be sent back home soon.
    The last thing Haiti needs is all the commotion and media hype of a 10-person trial.

    February 4, 2010 at 11:22 pm |
  4. LS

    Good Evening, In my opinion, the nine Americans are innocent. They thought they were going on a missionary trip to help children and trusted the leader. The two young people should be released immediately!
    I would agree that attention should turn to the real sex traffickers on the streets of Haiti! These missionary people should be given a second chance and sent home. The leader should submit to some deep therapy back in the states!

    February 4, 2010 at 11:21 pm |
  5. Doug From Sask.

    I am a devout Christian and am horrified by what I see these people allegedly doing in the name of Faith! We are not above the laws, regardless of who we say we are. Something smells fishy about this group....my prayers are with all our brothers and sisters in Haiti!

    February 4, 2010 at 11:20 pm |
  6. denise

    Reminds me of my sister, a religous fanatic, who thinks she knows more than anyone because she is on a mission from God. God supercedes all laws.

    February 4, 2010 at 11:18 pm |
  7. nicole

    I am very suspicious of this group. I have never heard of a Christian organization that "wants to break up families". Christians are not interested in taking children away from their parents. They would be more interested in finding help for the family.

    February 4, 2010 at 11:17 pm |

    That Christian Group knew very well what they were doing. Its a CRIME, and they should be charged to the full extent of the law. I'm tired of people using the Christian title to get away with things. They lied too many times during this ordeal to be "CHRISTIANS". They were probably going to sell the Kids to help the Pastor build a MEGA CHURCH.

    February 4, 2010 at 11:17 pm |
  9. Quintine

    It appears that the lady in question thought that she would leave the country unoticed among all the chaos.

    I dont think she thought she would get caught. Yes she has committed a chriminal act and should be prosecuted by that goverment

    February 4, 2010 at 11:16 pm |
  10. Jeff, Boise ID

    Please stop using "they" or "them" when referring to Laura Silsby's actions! The others were obviously blindly following with innocent intentions and no intention to break the law or harm children.

    February 4, 2010 at 11:05 pm |
  11. C Shumate

    How many of the bloggers have themselves given of their time and safety to volunteer to travel to help others who are in the mist of personal devastation, death, injury, hunger and disease? In times of calm everyday life in even 3rd world countries can utilize and sustain their judicial laws and regulations – but let's not forget that Haiti was the recipient of a cataclysm. Their own government had been brought to its knees. Our fellow Americans were giving of themselves to help those in dire need. I can only hope that if I am ever in need that someone will come to help me and my family – and I won't care if they follow all the red tape instilled by supposedly civilized law and regulations. Gosh guys the Earthquake was an emergency. Let's use some good samaritian common sense.

    February 4, 2010 at 11:04 pm |
  12. Danny

    Those missionaries are probably just a band of sheeps following blindly their leader... What upsets me the most is that they think they can ride above the law, because they are in a foreign country that is in a crisis situation. Thousand of haitian kids need help, it's not fair to just help one sinlge kid. The best we can do is to help Haiti future generation to rebuild their own country, by helping them staying where they are with food, medicine, school, and better social structure.

    February 4, 2010 at 11:04 pm |
  13. Bill

    Cuomo is just grabbing for a headline. Why a civil suite...because this has already been beaten to death for at least 6 months and there is no evidence available to prosecute. Don't you think this would have come out in congressional testimony, etc. Oh... that's right...Paulson indicated the government FORCED the deal on Lewis..."Take the deal or we'll replace you with someone who will"...or words to that effect. Seems like that would be the larger attention getter!!! Why didn't Paulson force a buyout of merryll at $2/share like they did with JPMorgans buyout. I would have been disappointed if Lewis didn't try to get something from the government. The government forced the deal for the good of the country...now for the good of the country...Leave BofA alone and let's get on with recovery.

    February 4, 2010 at 11:01 pm |
  14. Mary

    I think this was wrong what these people did. You can not just go do what you please and get your way with it. Sorry but these people do deserve to be jailed because if they're not jailed, more and more people out there in this world will go about doing the same. And what is really sad is that these americans do not stop and think what harm they're doing to these innocent children. These children are homeless and will have to go through alot to get their lives back. They will need counseling,(alot of care and support). These innocent kids are destroyed!. And to hear that parents to these kids let these americans to take their children?.. Still its against the law when you do not have DCF's permission or go through adoption. These children being taken from strangers will really destroyed them,(especially when these americans have no papers on these children). Their birthdays, pediatric records and soial security number's and other records on their lives). Shame on these american's! Shame on them for not thinking what they are doing to these children!...These american's knew actually what they were doing.Trying to take children from their parents, relatives would really mess them up!...Its not up to the parents to give their children to these american's – its up to Department of Children and Familes. DCF hates seperating children from their familes unless it's high risk child abuse..DCF will do anything to keep the children with familes & relatives. And with Haiti?.. celebrities – musicans,(everybody in this world are helping Haiti with tents, food,water,blankets,meds, and alot more)...So in my opinion – let Haiti law keep these bad americans that tried to kidnapped these children. They deserve jail & not get out!.

    February 4, 2010 at 11:00 pm |
  15. t. abner adras

    When I first heard the news about missionary in Haiti.I said to myself how come God's people are trying to help but they accused them of doing something bad.I came to think again God's people don't do nothing foolish.We always pray to God and wait for the answer.After tonight from watching cnn I heard the what the wittness say I think they know exacly what they were doing.I am a haitian- american & I ask my haitian law to have mercy on them because everybody makes mistakes.

    February 4, 2010 at 10:56 pm |
  16. Jeff, Boise ID

    I know one of the accused personally, and I can say that he is one of the most kind, compassionate, generous, selfless, humble men I have ever known. He would never knowingly do anything illegal or to hurt innocent children (or anyone for that matter). It appears to me that these people were blindly following a deceptive, misguided leader. Lets give them the benefit of the doubt until we know the whole story.

    February 4, 2010 at 10:55 pm |
  17. barb

    I believe these people are pure evil opportunists who intended to sell those 33 children (as I read on the internet) for $10,000 each. That evil woman who is the spokesman for the group is in bad shape financially and tried to make some quick money at the expense of the Haitians. Also, when has anybody heard of white people from Idaho caring for black people. The reason they live or move to Idaho is to escape from people of color. This was a child trafficking scheme that was thwarted by some alert border guards, thankfully!!!!!!!

    February 4, 2010 at 10:49 pm |
  18. lorraine harvey

    why is there always some americans out to make a quick buck . a few bad apples makes us all look bad .there are alot of us from the us that want to help the people of hati

    February 4, 2010 at 10:43 pm |
  19. Doug

    As insane as it seems there is a history of radical "Christian" sects who are violently anti Roman Catholic. I can't help but wonder if these Idaho people are rationalizing their actions as a rescue of these children from the "evil" of a predominantly Catholic country so they could raise them in a manner that they believe correct.

    February 4, 2010 at 10:42 pm |
  20. Jacqueline

    It may be that these 10 people were just hoping to help these children...maybe they didn't follow the correct procedure, but it is possible they only had good intentions in mind. If you look at what is posted about them prior to this, the appear to be good people involved in their community and churches. I watched CNN tonight and felt like Anderson Cooper was trying to add drama to this situation...Does he not realize these people may be innocent of everything except using good judgment and his drama may hurt them? Anderson Cooper was trying to get the man he was interviewing to say he told them it was not legal to move them, and several times this man had to restate he did not. Their lives are on the line here. What happened to innocent until proven guilty??? None of us actually know what happened over there, yet so many people have formed the opinion that these are bad people out to use these kids for profit. What if they were just trying to help these kids and nothing more?

    February 4, 2010 at 10:37 pm |
  21. Nadia

    Please do not put all christians in this category. The law is the law, and christians are supposed to obey the law. This is a group of people who went to Haiti in the pretense that they will help children, but instead they wanted to help their pockets.

    February 4, 2010 at 10:34 pm |
  22. sandra

    dear anderson cooper,
    it's unfortunate the 10 people were caught trying to take the children out of haiti. they needed some records from the government to do that. we would love to help the children. these people hurt the chances for other people to addopt the chidren. i don't know what will happen to these people. their heart was in the right place. but they did it wrong.
    all i can do is pray for these people and the children and the people of haiti. you've done a wonderful job reporting to us what happened. and to dr. sonja the dr. there. you guies are doing a wonderful job. i love watching your news program.
    very truly yours sandra l. miller

    February 4, 2010 at 10:30 pm |
  23. Nadia

    I think someone is lying in that story. There is a lot of questions about this group. Why they could not stay in Haiti with the children? other orphanages are functioning. Why is they wanted children 10 years old or younger. They said the kids were orphans to find out they have families, whether their families gave them up or not, the group should I told the truth. I think they were going to use these children to get money from people who want to adopt. Just because someone comes in the name of God that does not mean he or she is sincere. That Laura lady does not seem sincere to me at all. She knows what she was doing was wrong, but she just the money she could make and did not care at all about the children.

    February 4, 2010 at 10:28 pm |
  24. Elizabeth

    Anderson, I have no use for Bank of America! They closed my account then I couldn't get my money! I had to call the executive office, and then went to the Bank and even then it was a challenge! I owed them nothing but felt like a criminal trying to get my money!

    February 4, 2010 at 10:27 pm |
  25. Savana

    I can't believe that someone that serves GOD could take advantage of such a tragedy for their own gain .. and most of all to kidnap someones child is as low as anyone can go in my opinion

    They deserve whatever they get

    Prayers for Haiti ...send some love for a better tomorrow 🙂

    February 4, 2010 at 10:25 pm |
  26. Annie Kate

    The lady in the lead of this orphan center incident in Haiti sounds psychologically unbalanced and definitely out of her depth. Its good that the group was stopped before they got into the Dominican Republic.

    February 4, 2010 at 10:25 pm |
  27. Elizabeth

    Anderson, I knew this whole adoption thing was rotten from the start! Great job uncovering it all!!!

    February 4, 2010 at 10:25 pm |

    let the american go free. cause the haitian gov. wasn't doing their job any. if they were doing their job this wouldn't happen. haiti is a country were everybody can just come and do whatever. this should teach them a lesson so they can start doing their job like in any other country.

    February 4, 2010 at 10:24 pm |
  29. rebecca pickens

    Welcome back Anderson. You did an amazing job in Haiti. On behalf of all Haitians I thank you for your dedication and honesty.

    February 4, 2010 at 10:23 pm |
  30. Kristi

    Sounds like Ms. Silsby was trying to fill a void in her life. Perhaps, divert her attention from her woes at home. She probably had good intentions but must face the reality of her truly bad decisions. This is sad for her child at home.

    February 4, 2010 at 10:23 pm |
  31. Ike

    There seems to be a more sinister motive here. A full and thorough investigation is needed here with proper charges filed. Ppl like this operate where they think they can prosper amidst chaos in a poor country obviosly seeking some kind of sick profit from this. Very sad

    February 4, 2010 at 10:21 pm |
  32. B

    As an haitian American i think these people were doing the right thing. Theses children have a better future outside of haiti now. theses people are christians and it is the church resonsibility to help those in need. I think the haitian government has better thing to worry about now. let theses people come back home to their family, friends and love ones.

    February 4, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
  33. egg

    we christians give God a bad name! This is not the God I serve!

    February 4, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
  34. wesley

    Anderson, I want to to thank you a lot for what you've being doing for haiti. I don't believe these ten American were trying to help the children of Haiti. I believe they should be prossecuted and be charged according to the law.

    February 4, 2010 at 10:20 pm |


    February 4, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
  36. Gloria Esposito

    This is a bizarre situation.. I think Americans need to know when they cross into Iran, or Korea or get involved with illegal activity in other countries, they should pay the price. If the American government has to incur expense to rescue or cover Americans "gone wrong" then the Americans should be responsible for any costs associated with their recovery.

    February 4, 2010 at 10:16 pm |
  37. Kathy C

    I am glad to see this uncovered so people willn realize that just because a group operates under the guise of religion does not mean that they operate honestly, lawfully, or respectfully.

    February 4, 2010 at 10:14 pm |
  38. Mary

    What is the truth?

    February 4, 2010 at 10:11 pm |
  39. tracy herz

    Unless I am very much mistaken, I think this would fall under the category of persecution of Christians. Don't you think it would be better to concentrate on real child sex traffickers instead of this bizarre overemphasis on a group of missionaries with no criminal record?

    February 4, 2010 at 10:07 pm |
  40. KM

    Sounds crazy – but are they plants from UNICEF who will do anything to stop international adoptions? Were they put up to this to reflect poorly on "religious" people who are "adopting"?

    February 4, 2010 at 9:55 pm |
  41. John McCarthy

    These so-called "missionaries" are EXACTLY where they belong. Christian zealots who believe that God told them to go to another country and abduct other people's children so that they can proselytize them into a Christian cult are no better than Islamists who believe their "god" told them to die in the act of killing people.

    Nobody anywhere has the "right" to use their version of an invisible man in the sky to commit crimes. "God" whatever that is, didn't tell these people to do anything; using "god" as an excuse abdicates human responsibility.

    "God" didn't tell these people to kidnap innocent children any more than "god" told me to get a slice of pizza rather than a hot dog at a hockey game.

    Gotta go now. "God" told me that beer would taste great with this pizza...

    February 4, 2010 at 9:52 pm |
  42. Marcy

    I am very intrigued as to how these people took care of the innocent children. Imagine the cases we DON"T know about....these people are pure evil. This situation makes being proud of being American a lil' tuff. I'm hurt and saddened that at such a chaotic and vulnerable time i Haiti, people are still out to make money-no moatter how many lives they effect. It sure is the root of all evil.

    February 4, 2010 at 9:46 pm |
  43. Don McName

    Ignorance nor god justfies breaking the law in haiti,if not convicted this will set a precedent for abductors

    Lima ohio

    February 4, 2010 at 9:44 pm |
  44. jordan pogue

    I am glad these people got caught traffiking these children but I bet this is only the surface.the problem with a mass disaster like this is people use the confusion to get away with all this there will be a lot of responsibility on foreign governments to crack down on the children sex trade in there own countries and prosocute people in connection with it . If anyone is found with kidnapped children from haiti they should be sent to haiti to rot in jail and stand trial once the country is rebuilt.

    February 4, 2010 at 9:44 pm |
  45. alex lyrics

    What was the possible motive for this taking of children who had parents?

    Why did they pay or bribe the parents?

    Why would they take children to another country?

    Why didn't they take real orphans?

    Was it perhaps with the consent of the parents, it would make it easier to take them out of the country?

    I don't understand these people. i do however think that alot of these born again radical christian types have leaders with motives that even they themselves don't truly understand.

    I believe that these groups would love to take children somewhere, give them books, crayons, milk, and oats everyday for life, and then claim to the congregation that all their donations are going to support these kids.

    All this while the leaders live in the lap of luxury.

    I also can see these types arranging adoptions for these kids, and charging huge amounts of money to gain access to these kids.

    This looks bad, real bad.

    February 4, 2010 at 9:42 pm |
  46. Lisa Sementkowski

    I was shocked at the thought that these people were going to get away with this. They are living in a fantasy land. You can not just go and take childern aways thinking that they will be better off. They need to pay for what they did.

    February 4, 2010 at 9:39 pm |
  47. Isabel Siaba, Brasil

    Hello Maureen!

    If they willingly gave their children to the Americans, the Americans failed when they didn't have it documented. When it comes to custody of a child, there should be more support than the only the word.

    See you later...

    February 4, 2010 at 9:36 pm |
  48. Annie Kate

    What does criminal association mean in this case? It is starting to sound kind of bad for these people. I'm surprised though that given the destruction of Haiti that the Haitian authorities have the resources to jail and support these Americans over an extended time. This story and the story on the Tea Party convention in Nashville ought to make for an interesting evening.

    February 4, 2010 at 9:28 pm |
  49. Cindy

    Those 10 missionaries are really weird! For some reason they just remind me of the Manson family. I mean with the crazy way they act and singing hymns and stuff. Looking forward to seeing the new info on them.


    February 4, 2010 at 9:25 pm |
  50. mona Nozime

    Anderson , the only hope for Haiti right now is the children. We need them to rebuild a new Haitien nation.Thanks.

    February 4, 2010 at 9:24 pm |
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