Abducted pastor released; Boston church rejoices
DORCHESTER, Mass. (WHDH) -- Family members and parishioners in Dorchester rejoiced after receiving word that a Boston pastor and an Everett woman kidnapped in Egypt were released Monday.
Reverend Michael Louis and 39-year-old Lisa Alphonse of Everett are now being protected by Egyptian security.
Louis’ daughter Debra is elated.
“We’re just overwhelmingly happy,” Debra said.
Louis' jubilant family poured out of their home to share confirmation of the happy news.
“I just want to thank everybody and let you guys know that we are in joy. We are in joy after receiving such a message and we believe in God and let me tell you, he did not let us down,” said Jean Louis, Michael Louis’ son.
The family spoke with Reverend Louis via satellite phone as a convoy shuttled him through Egypt.
“He sounds in good spirits because he heard our voice ‘cause we were waiting to hear his voice. He told us he loved us and so that’s all we needed,” said Daniel Louis, Louis’ son.
A gunman hoping to pressure the Egyptians into freeing a prisoner took the hostages Friday. They were touring the Sinai Peninsula to retrace the steps of Jesus.
The family believes the gunman tried to abduct Alphonse alone at first, but Louis offered himself up instead, and both were taken.
“We’re thankful and we’re proud. Pastor Louis is a great local hero today,” said Rev. Eugene Rivers, Azusa Christian Community.
The family offered special thanks for Senator Scott Brown's work -- he spoke about the abduction earlier on Monday.
“He’s a hero. That being said, I know there are concerns about his health because he is a diabetic,” said Sen. Scott Brown.
Brown's office released a statement thanking U.S. and Egyptian authorities who helped negotiate the hostages’ release saying in part, "everyone's prayers have been answered."
“Great, great news. And I thank Senator Kerry and Secretary of State Clinton for their help in getting that release,” said Governor Deval Patrick.
Senator Kerry also released a statement saying in part, “Thank God the nightmare is over.”
The abductor said he decided to release the hostages because he received assurances from the Egyptian government that they would work on getting his uncle released from prison.