LDS sister missionaries kidnapped, rescued

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Sister Sara Trevino of Mesa, Ariz., serving in Guatemala. Photo via www.missionsite.net

SALT LAKE CITY — A pair of LDS missionaries serving in Guatemala were kidnapped and held for ransom for two days before being rescued by police, authorities in that country said.

A statement by the Guatemalan Interior Ministry issued on Friday said 22-year-old Sara Trevino, and her 22-year-old Ecuadorian companion, were kidnapped late Wednesday and held in captivity for two days.

Guatemalan news reports said the women’s captors demanded a ransom. The Interior Ministry said the kidnappers threatened to kill the women, and a special police task force raided the home in an area about 30 miles south of Guatemala City about 5 a.m. Friday. The women were not harmed.

Telediario 3 Guatemala showed video of the kidnappers being led out of the house in handcuffs. The TV station also showed images of money and cell phones that authorities said were used in that and other kidnappings.

Jesus Gabriel Calero Mairena, 30, Juan Carlos Mairena, 31, and Julissa Maricela Perez Colindres, 18, were arrested, the Interior Ministry said.

Officials said at least one of the kidnappers is suspected in the kidnapping and murder of a 61-year-old Ecuadorian engineer.

In a statement, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said it was grateful for the women’s safe release:

We are grateful for the safe return of two sister missionaries serving in the Guatemala City Central Mission, and we appreciate the concern and diligent efforts of all those involved in securing their release. We pray continually for the well being of our missionaries across the world.

Thankfully, such incidents are very rare. Most realize that these young people have dedicated this portion of their lives to sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. They do so at their own expense because of a desire to serve others, and are known throughout the world for the goodness of their lives and the message they share.