Watch CBS News

American nurse working in Haiti and her child kidnapped near Port-au-Prince, organization says

Search underway for American nurse and child
Search underway for American nurse and child kidnapped in Haiti as crime and violence skyrocket 02:47

An American nurse and her child were kidnapped near Haiti's capital of Port-au-Prince on Thursday, according to the nonprofit organization where the woman works and where her husband serves as director. News of the kidnapping comes at a time when gruesome crimes and gang violence are rising in the city.

El Roi Haiti, a Christian humanitarian organization, has identified the woman as Alix Dorsainvil. Her husband and the child's father, Sandro Dorsainvil, is the organization's founder and director of operations in Haiti. Originally from New Hampshire, Alix Dorsainvil lived and worked in Port-au-Prince as a nurse at the school run by El Roi Haiti, which aims to expand access to affordable education and teaches a faith-based curriculum, according to the nonprofit. She and the child were kidnapped from the organization's campus near Port-au-Prince on Thursday morning "while serving in our community ministry," the organization said.

"Our team at El Roi Haiti is grateful for the outpouring of prayers, care, and support for our colleague. We continue to work with our partners and trusted relationships to secure their safe return," said Jason Brown, the president and co-founder of El Roi Haiti Outreach International, in a statement shared to the organization's website, which was last updated on Saturday.

Brown described Alix Dorsainvil as "a deeply compassionate and loving person who considers Haiti her home and the Haitian people her friends and family."

"Alix has worked tirelessly as our school and community nurse to bring relief to those who are suffering as she loves and serves the people of Haiti in the name of Jesus," the statement continued. "Thank you for your support and compassion during this on-going situation. We would request that no attempts be made to contact the family for comment at this time."

Brown asked the public to "refrain from speculating on social media about this situation in order to protect Alix and her child during this time" and noted that additional updates will be shared to the El Roi Haiti website. 

Federal officials in the United States confirmed they are aware of the kidnapping report and in contact with Haitian authorities.

Security awaits the arrival of an unidentified Haitian diplomatic delegation at the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince July 11, 2021, three days after the assassination of Haitian leader Jovenel Moise.
Security awaits the arrival of an unidentified Haitian diplomatic delegation at the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince July 11, 2021, three days after the assassination of Haitian leader Jovenel Moise. Valerie Baeriswyl/AFP via Getty Images

"The U.S. Department of State and our embassies and consulates abroad have no higher priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas. We are aware of reports of the kidnapping of two U.S. citizens in Haiti," a spokesperson for the State Department said in a statement to CBS News on Friday night. "We are in regular contact with Haitian authorities and will continue to work with them and our U.S. government interagency partners. We have nothing further to share at this time."

The State Department advises Americans not to travel to Haiti. The agency last updated its travel advisory for the country at the end of July, maintaining its Level 4 risk assessment — meaning "do not travel" — while noting that kidnapping in Haiti "is widespread, and victims regularly include U.S. citizens."

"Kidnapping cases often involve ransom negotiations and U.S. citizen victims have been physically harmed during kidnappings. Victim's families have paid thousands of dollars to rescue their family members," the State Department wrote in a news release. The department ordered all family members of U.S. government employees and non-emergency U.S. government employees in Haiti to leave the country as soon as possible "in light of the current security situation and infrastructure challenges."

Fighting for Haiti | CBS Reports 22:15
View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.