Locals getting involved in bringing missionaries back to U.S.

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

Three of the 10 U.S. missionaries charged with kidnapping for trying to take a busload of children out of Haiti have captured the attention of Clovis.

Terry Lomas of Clovis said his cousins Drew Culberth and Paul Thompson, and Thompson’s son Silas, went to Haiti to help.

“They are godly men who were just trying to do God’s work,” Lomas said.

Lomas said Culberth, a youth pastor and firefighter from Topeka, Kansas, and Thompson, a pastor in Idaho, were not involved with paperwork as far as transporting orphans.

At Thursday’s Clovis City Commission meeting, Clovis Mayor Gayla Brumfield said she or any city commissioner would take letters or e-mails and forward them to Gov. Bill Richardson, Sens. Tom Udall and Jeff Bingman and Rep. Ben Lujan to push for the missionaries’ freedom.

“We need to get the letters going,” Brumfield said, “until we know they’re on the plane back home.”

Lomas said he talked to Culberth two days before the group left for Haiti. Lomas had been invited to join his cousins but couldn’t because of work.

A Facebook group, “Bring Drew Culberth Home,” has been set up by Culberth’s wife. People with Facebook accounts can use the search box at the top of the opening page to type in “Drew Culberth” to find the group page

According to the Associated Press, the 10 U.S. missionaries should be released from jail while an investigation continues, a Haitian judge said Thursday.

Lomas said the family received word from other family members that nothing will be done until Monday.

The Associated Press and CNJ staff writer Kevin Wilson contributed to this report.