Bodies of U.S. missionaries murdered by Haitian gangs recovered and returned to U.S.

 June 1, 2024

An American missionary couple in Haiti, Davy and Natalie Lloyd, were reportedly brutally murdered by Haitian gang members in an attack on their church in Port-au-Prince last week.

On Thursday, the U.S. State Department confirmed that their bodies had been recovered and repatriated back to the U.S. and transported to their home state of Missouri, the New York Post reported.

The couple served the nonprofit Christian organization Missions in Haiti, which Davy's parents founded. Natalie is the daughter of Republican Missouri State Rep. Ben Baker, while her mother serves as a congressional staffer.

State Department confirms successful repatriation mission

In a statement Thursday, State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel confirmed that the bodies of the deceased couple had been returned to the U.S. and said, "I’m not going to get into the deliberations beyond that. I would just echo what you heard the department say over the weekend, which is that we extend our deepest condolences to the families of these two American citizens."

"On behalf of the president, our ambassador in Haiti has been in touch with the families. The department has been in touch with the families. And we know that they are experiencing unimaginable grief," Patel continued. "I can also add that today was when those repatriations happened in line with the families’ wishes. And so our officials in Port-au-Prince work with the families to make arrangements for those transports back to the United States."

The Post noted that gangs have taken over substantial portions of Haiti and the U.S. government, in conjunction with nonprofit groups, have helped hundreds of U.S. citizens evacuate from the dangerously lawless Caribbean nation.

American missionaries attacked and killed

On May 23, the Missions in Haiti, Inc. Facebook page called for "urgent prayer" in response to an ongoing emergency situation at its church and orphanage in Port-au-Prince after Davy, Natalie, and others were "ambushed by a gang of 3 trucks full of guys. Davy was taken to the house tied up and beat. The gang then took our trucks and loaded everything up they wanted and left."

That post went on to describe how a second gang had arrived on the scene and initially claimed to want to help but then went into "full attack mode" after shots were fired.

Davy and Natalie and the local director named Jude attempted to hide in the house but that effort proved unsuccessful, as a separate post a few hours later revealed that "Davy and Natalie and Jude were shot and killed by the gang about 9 o'clock this evening. We all are devastated."

U.S. government, private organizations, and local gangs coordinated recovery effort

According to a CNN report, a frantic effort to locate, recover, and repatriate the bodies of Davy and Natalie was launched almost immediately by the State Department in coordination with the families of the victims plus the offices of Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Rep. Eric Burlison (R-MO), for whom Natalie's mother worked.

Over the course of the following week, U.S. officials engaged in tense negotiations with Haitian officials and even local gang leaders to secure the bodies and arrange for them to be transferred back to the U.S. -- a process that involved the assistance of a private ambulance service known as HERO Client Rescue and agreements brokered with wanted gang leaders who controlled access to the area.

The bodies were eventually recovered and moved to a local morgue, then later placed on an American Airlines flight -- the first U.S. commercial flight out of Haiti in several months -- where they were accompanied on the repatriation flight to Miami, Florida, by U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Dennis Haskins and armed U.S. security agents.

Bodies finally returned home

On Friday, Natalie's father, Missouri State Rep. Baker, posted on X, "Praise God! Natalie and Davy’s remains have landed safely at the Kansas City airport, and are en route back to Clark Funeral Home in Neosho! There is a police escort from the airport for Natalie, Davy, and the family back from Kansas City."

He later posted photos taken of people standing on the sides of the road as the procession made its way to the funeral home and wrote, "This community is amazing. The outpouring of love and support is just overwhelming," and added, "Hundreds of people that were standing out by their cars and many with their hands over their heart in love and respect. A true hero’s reception. God Bless you all…words really aren’t sufficient to express our appreciation. From the Baker family, just know we love you."

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