The American nurse kidnapped with her child near Haiti’s capital of Port-au-Prince Thursday first visited the country soon after the 2010 earthquake and “fell in love with the people,” according to the nonprofit organization where the woman works and where her husband serves as director.
El Roi Haiti, a Christian humanitarian organization, has identified the woman as Alix Dorsainvil. She and her child were kidnapped from the organization’s campus near Port-au-Prince on Thursday morning “while serving in our community ministry,” the organization said. Her husband and the child’s father, Sandro Dorsainvil, is the organization’s founder and director of operations in Haiti.
Originally from New Hampshire, Dorsainvil has lived and worked as a nurse in Port-au-Prince since 2020 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.
“We are now entering day 5 since our dear friend Alix and her child were kidnapped,” the organization said Monday. “As our hearts break for this situation we also continue to pray for the country and people of Haiti and for freedom from the suffering they endure daily.”
Dorsainvil first visited Haiti while she was in college, not long after the devastating 2010 earthquake killed thousands of people and caused widespread destruction. She spent her breaks and summers returning to the country, El Roi said. Once she started her career as a nurse, she would fund her own trips and travel to Haiti as often as she could. She married her husband in 2021.
“She had lived in Haiti for multiple years, showing love and care in a variety of ways before coming on staff with us, but has had a heart for the hurting since she was a child,” the organization said.
News of the kidnapping comes at a time when gruesome crimes and gang violence are rising in the city.
Federal officials in the United States confirmed they are aware of the kidnapping report and in contact with Haitian authorities.
“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.”
El Roi reiterated its request that people refrain from speculating about the kidnapping on social media and direct all questions to the organization’s board instead of Dorsainvil’s friends and family.
— Emily Mae Czachor contributed to reporting.
S. Dev is a news editor for CBSNews.com.