US jury indicts 4 in Philippine hostage taking

WASHINGTON -- A US jury has indicted four Philippine nationals sought in the 2011 kidnapping of an American woman and her teenage son during a family vacation in the Philippines.

Gerfa Lunsmann was held hostage for 82 days and her son, Kevin, for 151 days in the abduction, in which the family was forced to pay ransom.

After the mother was released, her son escaped his captors.

Federal prosecutors said the two were taken hostage from an island beach cottage off the mainland of Zamboanga City.

The indictment handed up Thursday charges each of the four with hostage-taking, conspiracy, and weapons charges.

In this file photo released by Zamboanga City hall, Police Regional Office-9 medical officer Dexter Bubuli (back to the camera) meets Gerfa Yeatts Lunsmann (left) upon her arrival on October 3, 2011. (Bong Garcia)

None of the four defendants, who were not named, is in custody.

If captured and extradited to the US, each would face a maximum term of life in prison. (AP)


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