An Idaho woman returned to the United States on May 18 after she was convicted of trying to take nearly three dozen children out of Haiti in the aftermath of that county’s devastating January earthquake.
Laura Silsby, 40, was the leader of 10 American missionaries who visited Haiti and attempted to remove children from that county to an orphanage in the Dominican Republic. She was the last to be returned home after her conviction was made final on May 17. She had been in jail since Jan. 29 and was sentenced to time already served.
Silsby was originally charged with kidnapping and criminal association, but was eventually convicted of arranging illegal travel, a lesser charge. According to the Associated Press, Silsby testified that she believed the children to be orphans, but it was later revealed that the parents of the children gave them to Silsby’s group in hopes the children could find greater opportunities in America.
Silsby, who attended the missionary trip with other members of the Central Valley Baptist Church in Meridian, Idaho, said she is relieved to be back home and that the ordeal is over.
“ feels incredible, feels incredible,” she told reporters at the airport upon returning home. “I just give praise to my God thank Him for bringing me home. Today is a day of joy and celebration, enjoying my family and my friends. I have longed for this for a long time.”
Unfortunately for Silsby, her legal troubles may not be over. Personal Shopper, Inc., an Internet business owned by Silsby which closed in March, has been the subject of a host of lawsuits and claims of unpaid wages, according to the AP.
Fox News reports that she is also involved in a custody battle with her ex-husband, Terry, over their two children.