What we know about the young missionaries and religious leader killed in Haiti

The bodies of a young missionary couple from the U.S. who were attacked and fatally shot by gang members in Haiti are expected to be transported to Missouri this week, a spokesperson for the families said Sunday.

Thursday’s killings of Davy and Natalie Lloyd, and Jude Montis, the local director of a mission group, Missions in Haiti Inc., happened in the community of Lizon in northern Port-au-Prince. They were leaving a youth group activity at a church, a family member told The Associated Press.

Natalie Lloyd is the daughter of Missouri state Rep. Ben Baker.

Speaking on behalf of the Lloyd and Baker families in a Facebook post on Baker's page, Cassidy Anderson said Sunday that transport had been secured for a Thursday arrival of the bodies in Missouri. But Anderson added that “security is going to be very difficult."

Haiti's capital has been crumbling under the relentless assault of violent gangs that control 80% of Port-au-Prince, while authorities await the arrival of a police force from Kenya as part of a U.N.-backed deployment aimed at quelling gang violence in the troubled Caribbean country.

Here are some things to know about the missionary work, which focused on helping the children of Haiti, and the deadly gang attack.

WORKING IN HAITI

Missions in Haiti’s website says its goal is “to see the Gospel of Christ make a difference in the lives of Haiti’s young people.”

Davy Lloyd's parents, David and Alicia Lloyd, of Oklahoma, started the organization in 2000 seeking to focus on the children of Haiti. David and Alicia Lloyd are full-time missionaries in the country.

“Although the entire nation is steeped in poverty, the children suffer the worst,” they wrote on the website. “Thousands are malnourished, uneducated, and headed for hopeless lives apart from Christ.”

Hannah Cornett, Davy’s sister, told AP that they grew up in Haiti. Davy went to the U.S. to attend a Bible college and married Natalie in June 2022. After the wedding, the couple wasted little time moving to Haiti to do humanitarian work.

Cornett said Montis, a Haitian, worked at Missions in Haiti for 20 years.

The organization's efforts include House of Compassion, which provides housing for 36 children — 18 boys and 18 girls, its website says. “All are destined to stay at House of Compassion until they have finished school and are ready to be on their own.”

Good Hope Boys’ Home provides a home for 22 boys, according to the website. The organization also built a church, a bakery and a school with more than 240 students.

THE ATTACK

A Facebook posting on the Missions in Haiti page stated that Davy Lloyd, 23, and Natalie Lloyd, 21, along with some children, were leaving a church when gang members in three trucks ambushed them.

Davy Lloyd later called his family to tell them that gang members hit him on the head with the barrel of a gun, forced him upstairs, stole their belongings and left him tied up, Cornett said.

As people were helping to untie Davy Lloyd, another group of armed gunmen showed up, Cornett said.

“No one understood what they were doing, not sure what took place but one was shot and killed and now this gang went into full attack mode,” Missions in Haiti's posting said.

The couple and Montis fled to a house connected to the mission.

“They tried to take cover in there, but the gang shot up the house,” Cornett said.

GRIEVING FAMILIES

Cornett said Montis left behind two children, ages 2 and 6.

Montis’ family could not be reached for comment Friday, and Missions in Haiti did not respond to an AP request for comment.

Missions in Haiti said in a Facebook post on Saturday that they were “facing the most difficult time of our life.”

“The embassy is working on getting all the paper work done in order for them to be flown to the states and many more behind the scenes to make happen more quickly and safely,” the post said, adding that the children and staff of Missions in Haiti have been relocated to a safer location.

Baker, Natalie Lloyd’s father and a Republican state representative in Missouri, said Friday on Facebook that the couple’s bodies were safely transported to the U.S. Embassy. Throughout the weekend, Baker's Facebook page provided updates on the efforts to arrange for transport to Missouri.

On Sunday, Anderson wrote on the families' behalf that plans firmed up and transport had been secured.

Baker wrote on Facebook in the early hours on Friday that his heart was broken “in a thousand pieces.”

“I’ve never felt this kind of pain,” he said. “Most of you know my daughter and son-in-law Davy and Natalie Lloyd are full time missionaries in Haiti. They were attacked by gangs this evening and were both killed. They went to Heaven together. Please pray for my family we desperately need strength. And please pray for the Lloyd family as well. I have no other words for now.”

Sen. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, urged President Joe Biden in a letter Sunday to ensure adequate security measures are taken to safely return the bodies to the U.S., citing “anarchic” conditions in gang-infested Port-au-Prince.

“Haitian gangs are heavily armed and could delay or even hijack the vehicles carrying the Lloyds' bodies,” Hawley wrote. “I must stress the critical importance of sufficient security personnel to protect the transport during the journey to the final point of departure.”

The White House did not immediately comment on Hawley's request.

On Saturday, the families received condolences from former President Donald Trump, who spoke at the Libertarian National Convention in Washington, D.C., and called it a “very, very sad moment.”

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Associated Press writer Summer Ballentine in Columbia, Missouri, contributed.

05/26/2024 23:44 -0400

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