PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – One of two Baptist missionaries still held on kidnapping charges in Haiti was released Monday, but the U.S. group’s leader remained in custody.

Charisa Coulter, 24, was taken from her jail cell to the airport by U.S. Embassy staff more than a month after she and nine other Americans were arrested for trying to take 33 children out of Haiti after the Jan. 12 earthquake.

Coulter declined comment as she quickly got into an SUV that took her to the airport.

The leader of the Idaho-based missionary group, Laura Silsby, said she was glad to hear about Coulter’s release. “I’m very happy that she left today, and for her freedom, and expect mine to come soon,” Silsby said as she left the courthouse where a judge held a closed hearing. Silsby, 40, was returned to her cell in a police station near Port-au-Prince airport.

Defense lawyer Louis Ricardo Chachoute said Coulter was released because there was no evidence to support the charges of kidnapping and criminal association. He predicted Silsby would be released soon, as well.

“There are no prosecution witnesses to substantiate anything,” Chachoute said.

Coulter, of Boise, Idaho, is a diabetic and had medical difficulties during her confinement. She was treated at least once, on Feb. 1, by American doctors after collapsing with what she said was either severe dehydration or the flu.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.