December 12th, 2011
02:34 AM ET

Kidnapped 14-year-old Filipino-American is free

A 14-year-old Filipino-American boy abducted in July by suspected Islamic militants in the Philippines is free, officials said.

Kevin Lunsmann was reunited with his mother, the U.S. Embassy in Manila said Monday, without offering additional details.

"It was a tough time. It was a tough five months," Kevin's father, Heiko, told CNN affiliate WSET, from the family home in Lynchburg, Virginia. "I'm just so happy."

Heiko Lunsmann said the boy had plotted his escape for a while, and eventually seized the opportunity some time late last week while his guards slept.

He "was spotted alone" Saturday about six miles southwest of Lamitan City on the island of Basilan, a stronghold of the Islamic militant group Abu Sayyaf, the official Philippines News Agency said.

Army officials turned him over to American forces in the southern Mindanao region, the Philippine government said in a statement to CNN affiliate TV 5.

The Philippine Inquirer quoted the Lamitan city mayor, Roderick Furigay, as saying Kevin walked for two days, surviving on candies his captors presumably gave him and on coconuts that he retrieved by climbing trees.

"In this holiday season nothing makes me happier than knowing that an innocent victim is returned to his family in time for holiday celebrations," Harry Thomas, the U.S. ambassador to the Philippines, said in a weekend statement.

"If ever we are to be inspired by the human spirit, we should take comfort in the courage, commitment and love that the Lunsmann family exhibited during this trying ordeal," Thomas added.

Fourteen gunmen snatched Kevin, his mother, Gerfa Yeatts Lunsmann, and his 19-year-old cousin, Romnick Jakaria, in July while they vacationed on the island of Tictabon, authorities said. The abductors forced them to board awaiting boats, which then sped off in the direction of Basilan.

Kevin's mother was released by her captors in October. Jakaria was released last month, according to the news agency.

Basilan serves as a base for Abu Sayyaf, which wants to establish a separate state for the Philippines' minority Muslim population. The U.S. State Department considers the group a terrorist organization and says it is linked to al Qaeda. The Philippines government has been fighting to contain the militants.

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Filed under: Philippines • U.S. • World
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. rooney

    He's lucky he was able to sneek away like that and that he was found by the right people. I'm glad he's safe back at home with his family.

    December 12, 2011 at 3:10 am | Report abuse |
  2. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    You're looking for heroes?
    Here's one.
    This fourteen-year-old man is a hero.

    December 12, 2011 at 3:11 am | Report abuse |
  3. RUFFNUTT (axle rose impersonater )

    non-whites make poor captives... the goverment doesn't value them much..

    December 12, 2011 at 8:09 am | Report abuse |
  4. Portland tony

    I am certainly glad this young man escaped from his captors. Now I don't know the background of this story, but it seems that everybody in this group that was kidnapped was released. Now some ransom must have been paid by someone, because normally bad guys have bills to pay too. Or were they really bad guys or what. I mean every Muslim group that opposes a sitting government is always "affiliated" with Al Qaeda

    December 12, 2011 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
  5. BOMBO

    "Let's kidnap a 14 year old boy." How does that thought NOT get flagged as WRONG inside a human brain? Hit Abu Sayyef hard. They serve no function. Muslims in the area already have peaceful, democratic alternatives to act on their behalf.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  6. Avser Bastian

    NOT LIABILITIES OR DISCRIMINATION, BUT INSTEAD ASSASSINATIONS !!! http://myshortbiography.blogspot.com/ LEARN ABOUT TRUTH BEHIND EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, UNITED NATIONS, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL AS WELL AS NEW WORLD ORDER(MULTICULTURALISM = TERRORISM) GOVERNMENTS !!! NOT THERE TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS, BUT TO DENY YOUR RIGHT TO EXISTENCE !!! 66 YEARS OF GENOCIDE AGAINST WHITES WORLDWIDE IS NO LONGER ACCEPTABLE !!! STOP THE ANIMAL APARTHEID NOW !!!

    NOT LIABILITIES OR DISCRIMINATION, BUT INSTEAD ASSASSINATIONS !!! http://myshortbiography.blogspot.com/ LEARN ABOUT TRUTH BEHIND EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, UNITED NATIONS, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL AS WELL AS NEW WORLD ORDER(MULTICULTURALISM = TERRORISM) GOVERNMENTS !!! NOT THERE TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS, BUT TO DENY YOUR RIGHT TO EXISTENCE !!! 66 YEARS OF GENOCIDE AGAINST WHITES WORLDWIDE IS NO LONGER ACCEPTABLE !!! STOP THE ANIMAL APARTHEID NOW !!!

    December 12, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  7. Avser Bastian

    WHITES ARE NOT WELCOME IN AMERICA ANY LONGER !!! WE DON'T NEED YOU ANY MORE !!!

    OUT OF AMERICA WITH WHITES NOW !!!

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xGfYOAydjw&w=640&h=360]
    OR
    http://www.youtube.com/user/BostjanAvsec <== OBAMA'S HEALTH CARE RECORDED LIVE IN 2009 !!! These are hard facts about lunatic Obama/Bush's twilight zone administrations(HORROR) or genocide against whites per ZIONIST Washington DC and in complete agreement with communist Moscow !!!

    EXILING WHITES WITH EXTREME PREJUDICE AND IMPORTING NON WHITES IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS COMPLETELY FREE.

    THIS NEWS IS RELATED TO WALL-STREET PROTESTS...NOT ANTI WALL-STREET, BUT ANTI WHITES !!!

    ANTI WALL-STREET PROTESTS ARE ALSO KNOWN UNDER ZIONIST "TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP" IN AMERICA FROM HANDS OF WHITE AMERICANS TO SO CALLED "MINORITIES"(COMMUNISM). Wall street protesters are Obama's raise of the planet Apes army which spread from London per Zionist Washington DC and communist Moscow where Mr. SOVIET UNION NUMBER TWO or new Stalin is in place = PUTIN

    ANTI WALL-STREET PROTEST MOVEMENT IS LED BY SO CALLED "ANONYMOUS" !!

    Anonymous !!? REALLY !!?

    NOW TELL ME WHO IS ANONYMOUS IN A POLICE STATE WHERE WE ARE SURVEILLANCED 24/7 !!? WHO !!?

    NOBODY !!! ABSOLUTELY NOBODY IS ANONYMOUS IN A POLICE STATE AND NOR ARE THOSE WHO MADE YOU PROTEST FOR THEIR SAKE OR WHAT MULTICULTURALISM(animal Apartheid) IS !!! http://multiculturalismisterrorism.blogspot.com

    GREEK CRISES !!! We are all Greece...find out who wants to burn not only what is Greece, but is burning our countries for over 66 years now !!! http://burnbabyburnahaha.blogspot.com

    December 12, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  8. what?

    dr BaD? tHaT yoU??

    December 12, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  9. banasy©

    If it isn't Dr. Bad, he's doing a fine imitation...

    December 12, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. chrissy

    @ bastian, could you puleeezz spread your UN-AMERICAN propoganda elsewhere? Enough already damn!

    December 12, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |