Before Alix Dorsainvil was kidnapped with her child in Haiti, the American nurse described Haitians as a “resilient people” who are “full of joy and life and love.”
Her comments came in a video on the website of El Roi Haiti, the Christian humanitarian aid organization for which she works.
Dorsainvil, the wife of El Roi Haiti Director Sandro Dorsainvil, and their child were reportedly abducted Thursday morning while serving in their community ministry on El Roi Haiti’s campus near the capital city Port-au-Prince, according to a statement from the non-profit. It’s unclear how old the couple’s child is.
The order followed a travel advisory from the US Embassy in Haiti advising US nationals to leave the country immediately due to recent armed clashes between criminal groups and police in Port-au-Prince.
Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas have been gripped by a yearslong kidnapping-for-profit epidemic, with hundreds of Haitians targeted by gangs seeking ransom payments each year.
While the bulk of such cases are local, targeting the rich and poor alike, foreigners have been taken in several high-profile kidnappings. In 2021, 17 missionaries from the United States and Canada were seized by a local gang while traveling on the road north of the capital and held for more than a month.
Authorities registered 1,014 kidnappings in Haiti from January to June this year – 256 women, 13 girls and 24 boys, according to a United Nations report on Haiti.
Dorsainvil, a nurse from New Hampshire, moved to Haiti after her husband invited her to the Haitian school to provide nursing care for the children, Dorsainvil explained in an undated video on the organization’s website.
According to a 2021 newsletter published by Sandro Dorsainvil’s alma mater, Lustre Christian High School in Montana, the couple married in Haiti in January 2021.
“Haitians are such a resilient people,” Dorsainvil said in the video. “They’re full of joy and life and love and I’m so blessed to be able to know so many amazing Haitians.”
El Roi Haiti has 390 students enrolled from pre-K through 12th grade, according to its website.
US authorities are aware of the abductions and are working with Haitian authorities and US government interagency partners, according to a statement given to CNN by a State Department spokesperson.
“The U.S. Department of State and our embassies and consulates abroad have no higher priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas,” the spokesperson said.
The department warned of a high threat of violent crime and kidnapping in Port-au-Prince. It added the US government’s capacity to provide emergency services to US citizens in Haiti is severely constrained.
“Given the recent armed clashes between gangs and the police and the high threat of violent crime and kidnapping throughout Port-au-Prince, the Department of State urges U.S. citizens to make plans to depart Haiti as soon as possible via commercial means,” the earlier advisory stated.
A ‘deeply compassionate and loving person’
Dorsainvil is a New Hampshire native, the private school she attended, Cornerstone Christian Academy in Wakefield, said in an online statement.
“Please pray for Alix Dorsainvil,” the school said. “Pray that God would keep her safe, be with her through this trial, and deliver her from her captors.”
El Roi Haiti described the nurse as a “deeply compassionate and loving person who considers Haiti her home and the Haitian people her friends and family.”
“Alix has worked tirelessly as our school and community nurse to bring relief to those who are suffering as she loves and serves the people of Haiti in the name of Jesus,” the statement from El Roi Haiti said.
Dorsainvil is a “very special young woman,” the president of her alma mater, Regis College, said. School President Antoinette Hays described the nurse as a compassionate person who “cared very much” on NBC’s “Today Show.” Regis College is a small, private university in Weston, Massachusetts.
CNN’s Caroll Alvarado, Caitlin Hu, Heather Law and Aaron Pellish contributed to this report.