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Young American couple, killed by armed gangs in Haiti, devoted lives to missionary work

Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald on

Published in News & Features

A young American couple who devoted their lives to missionary work in Haiti were killed Thursday night, along with the Haitian director of their non-profit, after two armed groups attacked their mission in the country’s volatile capital.

“I’m just at a total loss,” David Lloyd, 48, told the Miami Herald, confirming the deaths of his son Davy Lloyd, daughter-in-law Natalie Lloyd and director Jude Montis. “I’m just in total shock. I haven’t grieved. I haven’t done anything else. I haven’t eaten. I can’t think.”

The three were killed by armed gunmen who attacked Missions In Hope, a U.S.-based non-profit near Bon Repos, a gang-controlled community just east of the capital. The details of what happened were still not clear Friday, said Lloyd, who had flown out of Port-au-Prince with his other son the day before the attack. But the non-profit was hit by two different armed groups during the day, he said. Davy Lloyd was trying to inform his dad about what was happening on the property when the three were killed and their bodies set on fire.

Missions in Hope runs a school for 450 children, has a children’s home and a commercial bakery, where Lloyd said “we give bread to anyone who’s hungry.”

“We haven’t had any problems,” he said. “We’ve operated school every day. We’ve had church on schedule. We got a commercial bakery that’s open every day. I’ve never had been asked for any money to operate or stay open. I’ve never had any issues.”

On Thursday Davy, 23, and Natalie, 21, were ambushed by armed gunmen belonging to the Terre Nwa (Black Soil) gang. The ambush happened on a day on which many Haitians had anticipated a deployment of Kenyan police officers. Terre Nwa is led by one of the thousands of inmates who recently escaped after armed groups stormed the country’s two largest prisons on March 2.

 

Based in the area of Sarthe, the Terre Nwa gang is led by a man who goes by the name “Jones,” according to a Haiti police source. Armed gang members came onto the mission’s property just as Natalie and Davy were coming out of church with several youths.

“They drove him into the house, tied him up and beat him,” Lloyd said. “Then they proceeded to loot the whole house, everything they wanted and took my trucks and drove off with them.”

After the gang left, the staff and children untied Davy and he headed to his parents’ house on the property to call his dad. On the way to the house, he and Natalie met up with Montis, the director who has been with the nonprofit for 20 years, and others who had stepped outside to see what had happened.

“All of a sudden there was this immense panic. Everybody started running,” David Lloyd said. “The kids ran around back, put ladders up and climbed over the wall.”

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