May 17th, 2010
04:38 PM ET

American missionary held in Haiti is free, lawyer says

Laura Silsby, the American missionary accused of trying to take nearly three dozen children out of Haiti after the devastating January 12 earthquake, has been freed from jail by a Haitian court, her defense attorney said Monday.

Silsby is currently at the Port-au-Prince airport preparing to board an American Airlines flight to the United States, scheduled to depart at 5 p.m. (6 p.m. ET), her lawyer, Chiller Roy said.

Roy declined to comment on reports that Silsby had been convicted and freed on time served.

Silsby was charged with trying to arrange "irregular travel" for 33 children she planned to take to an orphanage she was building in the Dominican Republic. She was jailed January 29, along with nine other American missionaries who were later released.

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Filed under: Haiti
soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. Mindy

    Putting all religion aside....I think she really thought she was helping. That was not the way to go about it, but I'm glad that they saw that her intent was to help.

    May 17, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. soft

    Do we really need to go to Haiti to adopt children? Can't they find any African-American children here in the United States that need to be adopted? Just a thought.

    May 17, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • SmarterThanYOU

      Why does it have to be African-American? HMMMMM???? You have something against WHITE kids being adopted in this country??? If they are African-American kids, leave them in Africa where they belong. There are enough kids in this country of ALL COLORS needing family's, but those who have to grab the spotlight and go across the world and spread their wealth just to gain a status symbol should be banned from returning to this country! America needs to wake the flip up and see just what is going on and WHY and learn to deal with problems HERE before everyone runs off to some god forsaken land to try and help others!!!

      May 17, 2010 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. GGM

    If she was up to only good, she should have worked with the system, not try to smuggle 33 kids out of the country. She broke the law. Shame on her.

    May 17, 2010 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Michael

    It's a shame that our nation has produced people who would use such a tragedy to further their own religious views. I've seen this so many times, in so many disasters: when someone's house is gone, they need food, not a Bible. They need to be told "I'll help", not "This happened because God is angry with you".

    May 17, 2010 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • SmarterThanYOU


      May 17, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. JROB

    I have a friend in Haiti, and it is a very corrupt place.
    People in the govt are a part of the smuggling problem.
    They have no respect for life- just in the last month, 2 15 yr old girls
    were accused of possession of drugs, not that they
    had any. One girl was pregnant, they both were beaten so bad in fact the girl lost her baby, and that was in the same jail as Laura.

    So get real- only someone who has never been there nor personally knows of someone that lives there would wish a haiti prison on anyone. Or just an evil person.

    May 17, 2010 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      JROB Why dont you try really hard to open your feeble, brainwahsed little mind up just a tiny bit and see that SHE BROKE THE LAW AND WAS JUSTLY PUNISHED! shes lucky she got off the hook so easily.

      May 17, 2010 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Rob

    I hate to say it but serves her right. I am so tired of seeing America always jumping to the aid of other countries. Why can we not focus more on our own damn country? Seems that we are always first to act to aid another country and yet we are very slow to help good ol USA out. We should focus more on our own country first then aid if possible. Amazing how we can raise millions for the people of Haiti but we have millions of Americans out of jobs struggling to survive. Why not raise money for them?

    May 17, 2010 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      Amen to that Rob.

      May 17, 2010 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. safari

    My heart and best wishes go out to her and her family. I hope and pray she learned a lesson from this experience. Don't try to help anyone. You'll be damned if you do and damned if you don't. So....just take care of yourself and your family.

    May 17, 2010 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jessica

    I can not believe there are so many anti-christians in this site, I wonder if you dance with the devil and satan and lite a black candle every night surrounded with chicken blood?...that poor woman is a missionary working for God, and deserves more respect from all of you.!!

    May 17, 2010 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      Brainwashed Idiot.

      May 17, 2010 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jason from Hollywood

    What an outrage! this whole scenario was based upon what, they accused Americans of kidnapping? We're the bad guys cause we're removing children and taking them to a place that has shelter, food, and clean water?

    As soon as our emissaries were held over this ridiculous situation – we should have bombed that ungrateful country and finished the job. I can't describe my outrage over their behavior just as the US and the rest of the world showed up on their doorstep to help them pick up the mess from earthquakes they weren't ready for...

    May 17, 2010 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ron h

    Glad you are coming back to America where freedom of speech is allowed. I will give you the benefit of doubt in trying to help children who needed someone to provide kindness in their lives during a disaster.

    Probably goes without saying, stay out of Haiti, maybe you can help the needy children here without the controversy. In any event, be careful to follow the law. Welcome home.

    May 17, 2010 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Nick

    Im really enjoying these idiots on this post that have no way to further thier argument other than saying "She is my neighbor, i know her" or "I read a newspaper that said Haiti is corrupt" its pathetic... try to get some factual evidence instead of making up stories.

    May 17, 2010 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • MaryR

      Seems like you have no way to further your argument other than calling people idiots.

      May 17, 2010 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Damião Carlos

    Finally a good news, by the way...a great news... 17th may 2010

    May 17, 2010 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. CuteySusy

    Hi, I am from the dominican republic (live there currently) we are very close to what happens in haiti (obviously)and even before the earthquake there has been story of haitian woman selling or giving their children away, I have been hearing about this all my life, HOWEVER I do not defend the way these people deal with "helping children" it's a delicate matter and should always be done with the law on their side; religion aside breaking the law is wrong and should always have consequences.

    May 17, 2010 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Julesy

    I completely believe that these very sheltered and ignorant religious folk from Idaho believed they were doing something good for these kids. But guess what, it is still a crime, and it was still beyond idiotic for them to believe that they could "help" children by removing them from their families and taking them to a foreign country. That is the definition of child trafficking, regardless of intent or what church you go to on Sunday. It is the height of arrogance to assume that you can care for these kids in an "orphanage" when you have NO TRAINING AND EXPERIENCE to do so, without investigating the laws and ethics of such a practice, just because you are white and North American and Christian! I do have pity on these poor souls who probably to this day do not see their own sin and believe they haven't committed a crime or a bad deed just because they "meant well!" The road to hell is paved with good intentions!

    May 18, 2010 at 3:53 am | Report abuse |
  15. Anon

    Jessica, that woman is a criminal, convicted of kidnapping children.
    And in case you're wondering, the devil LOVES to cha cha.

    May 18, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
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