Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Two Haitians Indicted and Arrested For Taking Hostage a Nine-Year-Old American Girl in Haiti

WASHINGTON, Oct. 11 /U.S. Newswire/ -- United States Attorney Kenneth L. Wainstein announced today that Yves Jean Louis, 24, and Ernso Louis, 19, both of Haiti, were indicted on Friday, Oct. 7, by a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., on charges of taking hostage a nine-year-old girl who is a United States citizen. The girl had been living with her family in the area of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. If convicted, both Yves Jean Louis and Ernso Louis face maximum sentences up to life imprisonment.

The two defendants were arrested on Friday in Haiti and brought to the United States. They were presented today on the charges in Miami before U.S. Magistrate Judge Patrick White, who scheduled a removal and detention hearing for Oct. 14.

United States Attorney Wainstein stated, "the United States Government will deal severely with those who kidnap and hold American citizens for ransom. There will be justice in this case for the trauma inflicted upon this innocent child and her family."

The ordeal began in the early morning hours of Sept. 26, 2005, when Yves Jean Louis, Ernso Louis and two other assailants allegedly abducted the child from her bed, after having invaded the family's home. The child was taken to another location and held there for more than one week. The child was told repeatedly that if she told anyone or tried to escape, she would be killed.

During that time, the hostage-takers made demands for ransom, starting at USD $200,000. A citizen in the area where the child was being held became aware of her presence and alerted the authorities. The child was rescued on Oct. 4. The authorities apprehended Ernso Louis at the scene and located Yves Jean Louis a short while later. The two other hostage-takers remain at large.

In announcing the indictment and arrest, U.S. Attorney Wainstein praised the hard work of FBI's Extraterritorial Squad, Evidence Response Team and Special Weapons and Tactics Squad all based in Miami, FBI Legal Attache based in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, the Haitian National Police and the United Nations Civilian Police and the Regional Security Office and Consul General at U.S. Embassy Port au Prince, Haiti.

Furthermore, he acknowledged the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorneys John A. Beasley, Jr., and Jeanne M. Hauch, who are prosecuting the case as well as Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Daniel in the Southern District of Florida who is handling the initial appearance and removal hearings of the defendants in Miami.

The charges contained in this indictment are allegations only and the defendants are presumed innocent until convicted at trial.


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