UPDATE: Topeka Man Jailed In Haiti

By: Suzie Gilbert Email
By: Suzie Gilbert Email

Topeka, Kan. (WIBW) -- The 10 Americans accused of trying to take 33 children out of Haiti illegally appeared in a preliminary hearing with a judge today. (VIDEO INCLUDED)

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Officials say today's hearing is to draw up charges for the Americans and send those charges to a tribunal judge.

Topeka firefighter and youth minister Drew Culberth and nine others are still behind bars.

Officials say they found the 33 children hungry and thirsty, and some were crying for their parents. Now the Haitian Prime Minister wants to make an example out of the Americans, to crack down on child trafficking. "There is a law. These people are supposed to know the law. They violated the law," Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive said.

Culbreth and the Americans are maintaining their innocence. "We showed them where they were going. They were excited to go with us. We spent a great deal of time literally holding them in our arms," imprisoned missionary Laura Silby said.

They say they thought they had the right paperwork and permission from the Haitian pastor in charge of the orphanage.

Topeka Reverend Max Manning has made several trips to Haiti. He says the group is using The Bible as a crutch.

Manning says he hopes Culberth is the first to come home but he thinks all 10 Americans should have their passports revoked. "They'd be very fortunate if they get off that easy because this is a very serious violation. it's child trafficking," he said.

The Americans will eventually appear before a tribunal.

Manning plans to make another trip to help in Haiti on Monday.


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