The church members claimed initially that the children were abandoned or orphaned, but it was later learned that many of them had families who gave them to the group with hopes of a better life. Their case was also marred by revelations that a man who acted as their legal adviser is wanted on charges in El Salvador, including for human trafficking, and the US. He has denied those charges.
While the eight flew to Miami Wednesday evening, the judge continues to hold the group’s leader, Laura Silsby, as well as nanny Charisa Coulter. The judge reportedly wants to question them about a previous trip to Haiti, prior to the Jan. 12 earthquake.
The devastating quake that struck Haiti left up to 200,000 people dead, and in the days afterward, television screens across the globe flashed images of tearful, disoriented children, living in squalid camps throughout the capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince. Those images drew an outpouring of support. Many foreigners opened their wallets, or volunteered to be medics. Many also felt a desire to adopt Haitian children.