Young American couple doing missionary work killed by gangs in Haiti

An Oklahoma-based missionary group working in Haiti’s capital was attacked by gangs Thursday night, leaving the daughter of a Missouri state representative, her husband and another member dead, a founder of the organization said.

David Lloyd III and his wife, Natalie, who were full-time missionaries, were violently attacked by gangs Thursday evening and were both killed, Lloyd’s mother said in an interview Friday.

Alicia Lloyd, who founded Missions in Haiti in 2000 with her husband David Lloyd, confirmed the deaths of their son David Lloyd III, 23, known as Davy, and his wife, Natalie Lloyd, 21. Natalie Lloyd is the daughter of Missouri state representative Ben Baker, who also announced the couple’s death in a statement on his Facebook page.

In an interview Friday, Alicia Lloyd said her son was crying and scared for his life when he called her to tell her that he and their compound were under attack. 

“He had already sustained a beating at the hands of a gang and they had come into the compound,” she said. 

The gang members then took the organization’s vehicles and other items and left, she said.

After they beat her son, Alicia Lloyd said, he was released and neighbors came to check on him. But then things took a turn after a second gang showed up, she said. 

“And that’s when he and his wife and one of our Haitian employees that have been with us for 20 years,” were holed up in one of the organization’s small houses for two to three hours, she said.

“Now this gang went into full attack mode,” the organization said in a post on its Facebook page before the three had been killed.

The couple and the other longtime member of the organization used a satellite internet link to make calls and recount what was happening as it was occurring, the organization’s Facebook post said.  

The post went on to say that the gangs had shot all the windows out of the house and attempts to get a police armored car to evacuate the missionaries to safety were unsuccessful. The organization said it had tried to negotiate with the gang and offer them money to let the three go but concluded the post by saying it had lost communications.  

In a separate statement on its Facebook page posted just hours later, the organization announced that the three had been killed at about 9 p.m.

Alicia Lloyd said the gang members had set the house on fire, broke down the door to the home and shot the Lloyds and the other longtime employee.

Haiti has been in turmoil for decades and is increasingly under the control of gangs, which have taken over most of the capital city of Port-au-Prince, including police stations. Gang violence reached unprecedented levels after the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. The first quarter of 2024 was the country’s deadliest with 2,500 or so people killed or injured in gang violence, the United Nations has said. Haiti’s main international airport —Toussaint-Louverture airport in the capital of Port-au-Prince — reopened Monday for the first time in nearly three months after gang violence forced authorities to close it to all traffic in early March.  

A spokesperson for the National Security Council said it was aware of the reports of the deaths of U.S. citizens in Haiti and that President Joe Biden supports multinational efforts to stabilize the country and protect its people.  

“Our hearts go out to the families of those killed as they experience unimaginable grief,” the spokesperson said.

Alicia Lloyd said that until recently, no one was able to leave the compound because all the roads around it were blocked and that Missions in Haiti would have to smuggle supplies for its children’s home.

Still, she said, she was in shock and disbelief Friday. She was in Haiti at the time of the attack and her husband had just left a day earlier to return to the U.S., she said.

David Lloyd III had grown up in Haiti and loved its people, his mother said. At age 18, she said he went to the U.S. to attend a Bible college. After he graduated, he returned to Haiti to serve the people there, she said.

“It’s sad for me to say, but he died doing what he loved because he just wanted to help the Haitian people,” she said. “Because growing up there, he saw their suffering. He saw the misery there and he just wanted to do something to make a difference.”

Alicia Lloyd remembered her daughter-in-law as having a “real sweet spirit.”

“She just was such a blessing to our family,” she said. “She just was one of those people that would just get in and do whatever needed to be done.”

Baker said: “My heart is broken in a thousand pieces. I’ve never felt this kind of pain.”

“They went to Heaven together,” he said in his Facebook post. “Please pray for my family. We desperately need strength. And please pray for the Lloyd family as well. I have no other words for now.”

Missions in Haiti had a presence in the country since 1998, according to the organization’s website. Its ministries include a home for boys, another for children, two churches and three schools all funded by U.S. supporters, the website says.

An undated post on the website announced David and Natalie joining the organization.

“We are excited to have them join us in Haiti!” it said.

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