American nurse Alix Dorsainvil and her daughter have been released after they were kidnapped 13 days ago from the community ministry where Dorsainvil works in Haiti, the organization said.
“It is with a heart of gratitude and immense joy that we at El Roi Haiti confirm the safe release of our staff member and friend, Alix Dorsainvil and her child who were held hostage in Port au Prince, Haiti. Today we are praising God for answered prayer,” the statement said.
The organization asked that no one contact Dorsainvil or her family saying, “There is still much to process and to heal from in this situation.”
The US State Department said they “welcome reports of the release of two citizens from captivity in Haiti,” a spokesperson told CNN Wednesday, adding that they “have no greater priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas.”
Haitian National Police told CNN they couldn’t comment on the matter because it’s still under investigation.
Dorsainvil and her daughter were kidnapped from the community ministry in Port-au-Prince on July 27 – it remains unclear who kidnapped the pair and why.
The abduction – including a man pulling out a gun – unfolded in view of a patient waiting for a medical checkup, the patient told The Associated Press.
“When I saw the gun, I was so scared,” Lormina Louima told AP. “I said, ‘I don’t want to see this, let me go.’”
The order followed a travel advisory from the US Embassy in Haiti advising US nationals to leave the country immediately due to recent armed clashes between criminal groups and police in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince.
Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas have been gripped by a yearslong kidnapping-for-profit epidemic, with hundreds of Haitians targeted by gangs seeking ransom payments each year.
The majority of victims are local, but foreigners have been seized in the past. In 2021, 17 missionaries from the United States and Canada were taken by a local gang while traveling on the road north of the capital and held for more than a month.
Authorities noted 1,014 kidnappings in Haiti from January to June this year – 256 women, 13 girls and 24 boys – according to a UN report.
Dorsainvil, a New Hampshire native, has been on staff tending to schoolchildren as a nurse since 2020 and married Sandro Dorsainvil, El Roi Haiti’s director in 2021, according to the non-profit.
She first visited Haiti after the 2010 earthquake while she was still in college and “fell in love with the people,” the non-profit said in a statement. She then spent breaks from school and summers visiting Haiti, saving her money and paying her own way back to the Caribbean nation as often as she could.
Dorsainvil’s kidnapping prompted students from El Roi Haiti and other residents to hold a demonstration demanding the freedom of the beloved nurse and her daughter.
Correction: An earlier version of this story gave the wrong date for the US State Department’s order for departure of nonemergency government personnel. It was July 27.
CNN’s Jennifer Hansler contributed to this report.