Bonao, Monsenor Nouel, Dominican Republic …. [Libna Stevens/ANN]
Police returned a seven-year old boy unharmed to his parents just 16 hours after he was kidnapped on Dec. 7. The boy was taken after one of the kidnappers forced his way into the boy’s home, on the campus of the Dominican Adventist University in the city of Bonao, capital of Monsenor Nouel province, 56 miles (89 km) from the nation’s capital, Santo Domingo.
“It is a miracle that my boy is alive,” says the boy’s father, Ysaias Javier Dominguez, the university’s vice-president for financial affairs.. “God is the only one who worked this whole situation.”
Hours after the boy was taken, Javier received a call from the kidnappers, who demanded he pay a ransom of 800,000 Pesos (US $30,000).
Javier immediately went to the police. He then received a second call from one of the kidnappers who threatened to kill his son if the ransom wasn’t paid. Javier says he recognized the voice of the caller as belonging to a night security guard employed by the university two years before. He provided this tip to police, who soon located the boy in a house six miles (10 km) from the campus.
The former security guard, who police say had a criminal record, and another of the alleged perpetrators were killed in an exchange of gunfire with police.
Javier says he notified the church headquarters in Santo Domingo immediately after his son went missing. News spread quickly throughout the campus and Adventists throughout the island prayed for the boy’s safe return, he says.
“Our church has never had something like this happen to one of our members and we praise God for intervening,” says Sylvestre Gonzalez, communication director for the church in the Dominican Republic.
“This is the first-ever kidnapping of a minor in our city,” Javier adds.
Javier says he was amazed at how quickly his son was returned, and adds that police officers told him negotiations with kidnappers usually last three days.
The incident prompted university leaders to enforce more security measures on campus. The university has hired a security company to work in tandem with its own security team to more effectively protect the more than 1,000 students and staff living on campus.
The boy, the oldest of three, says he is happy to be reunited with his parents and siblings. He will return to school in January.
Copyright © 2004 by Adventist News Network.