On Monday (December 20), officials said the group of 12 Christian missionaries who recently made it back to the US actually escaped captivity, and were not freed by members of the Haitian gang 400 Mawozo.
At a news conference last week, officials with Christian Aid Ministries said the adults of the group decided to flee after taking note of the kidnappers' and the area they were in. The kidnapped group –– which included a three-year-old and toddler –– waited until it got quiet at night to pry open a door and leave the compound in a single file line.
Christian Aid Ministries spokesperson Weston Showalter said the rest of their escape "was in God's hands" as the group walked some ten miles before dawn, where they stumbled upon a local resident who called law enforcement authorities for them.
"When they sensed the timing was right, they found a way to open the door that was closed and blocked, filed silently to the path that they had chosen to follow and quickly left the place that there were held despite the fact that numerous guards were close by," Showalter said, according to a report by WKYC-TV.
The missionaries "identified a landmark" while walking and "knew that this was the direction they needed to go," Showalter stated, adding that the group also relied on the "sure guidance of the stars" to find their way.
The gang originally kidnapped 17 missionaries on October 16 after the group had visited an orphanage near the capital city of Port-au-Prince. Two of the missionaries were released November 22 and three others on December 5.