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No word from abductors of 2 Americans

/ 06:57 PM July 15, 2011

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines—No word has been received from the abductors of naturalized American Gerfa Yeatts Lunsmann and her son, Kevin Eric, since the incident took place on July 12 in Tictabon Island here, officials reported on Friday.

Mayor Celso Lobregat also belied reports that the abductors had demanded $2 million from the Lunsmanns in Virginia.

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A report published on the website ABC 13 quoted a Lunsmann neighbor as saying that Lunsmann’s husband Hiko told him that the group is demanding $2 million.

“There has been no contact with the husband in the United States and as to the reported ransom that appeared in some of the website of dailies in the US. Ambassador (Harry Thomas) said that it is completely untrue, there has been no contact, no demand whatsoever,” Lobregat said.

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Senior Superintendent Edwin de Ocampo, acting city police chief, said “overwhelming information” have been reaching the police on the possible whereabouts of the suspects and the victims in Basilan and Zamboanga Sibugay.

“But as we speak now, there was no eyeball or any solid information pertaining to the captives,” he said.

Lunsmann, 47, and Kevin Eric, 14, were vacationing on Tictabon Island when abducted along with a distant cousin, Basilan native Romnick Jackaria.

De Ocampo said she was retracing her roots for her and for her son, who grew up in the United States.

Lunsmann, who was adopted by an American couple when she was still a nine-year-old girl in Pangapuyan Island, arrived in the city on July 1.

While supervising a beach house she ordered constructed, a group of armed men snatched her, Kevin Eric and Romnick.

The kidnapping had prompted Washington to dispatch Federal Bureau of Investigation agents to this city.

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What the police are certain of, De Ocampo said, is that the victims were already outside the city.

“But we cannot say where (they actually are) and we are still in the process of validating all the reports,” he said without elaborating.

De Ocampo admitted sharing notes with the FBI agents but clarified that they were not participating or interfering in the investigation.

Lobregat said he was also in close contact with the US Embassy in Manila.

“I was able to talk with US Ambassador Harry Thomas on Thursday and he committed that they will give all the cooperation we needed,” he said.

But Lobregat quickly said the US government was not dispatching any personnel for purposes of joining the investigation or the rescue efforts.

Tens of American soldiers are currently in the city under the Visiting Forces Agreement.

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TAGS: Abduction, Crime, Features, Gerfa Yeatts Lunsmann, Kevin Lunsmann, Kidnapping, Regions, Travel, US, Zamboanga City
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