46 min

011 MEET GARDY Slave Stealer

    • Personal Journals

Tim gives the emotional back story of Gardy, the currently missing son of a friend, in Haiti. He talks about recent efforts to rescue him and a little about how Gardy helped start Operation Underground Railroad.   Interview w/ Tim Ballard Mark Mabry January 20, 2015
  Tim:         
Welcome to Slave Stealer Podcast. Tim Ballard here with Mark Mabry, and we're going to talk today about the story that really started Operation Underground Railroad. It's the story of a man named Guesno Mardy who is a Haitian man whose son was kidnapped, trafficked, from Port-au-Prince. He was the pastor of his congregation, and this boy was taken from church, passed on to traffickers, and vanished.
What's horrible about this story is that while he's looking for his boy - he's only two or three weeks into the search - and that's when Haiti has that earthquake that kills 300 and some thousand people. Included amongst those people were Guesno's mother, Guesno's sister, and almost his wife. She was the only person who survived in this building that collapsed and only because her body fell into, like, a crevasse of cement jungle and somehow walked out without a scratch. And that's when she said...she basically cursed the land and said, "I'm leaving. My son's been kidnapped." She had four other children at the time and she says, "I'm outta here. I'm going to Florida. I cannot live in this cursed land." And Guesno says, "I can't leave without Gardy." So they're still married and everything, but he lives in Haiti because he will not leave until he finds his son.
Mark:     
And she lives in Florida.
Tim:          
She lives in Florida.
Mark:      
That was a lot to take in for an opening paragraph.
Tim:         
Yeah. How'd you like that one?
Mark:      
That was big.
Tim:          
Yeah.
Mark:      
Let's just start here, then. Let's start into the narrative, because you gave us a good context. Take me to the first time you ever spoke to Guesno. What was your situation at the time? And what was his response?
Tim:       
I was a government agent when I heard about the case - and the reason I heard about the case was because this little boy Gardy actually was born in the United States. His parents were on a fundraising mission. They have an orphanage, beautiful orphanage, that we visit often, and it has 150 kids in it. They're on a fundraising mission, and that's when Guesno's wife, Marjorie, was pregnant with Gardy, had Gardy - he's a U.S. citizen. He's the only of the of the five kids, the (now) five kids, that's a citizen, so I...naturally, I heard about the case. There was some press on it, and I was reading about it - not very much press, but a little bit. And I thought, "I wonder what's happening with this little U.S. citizen who's been taken?"
So I started digging into it, found out that the case had been given over to the Haitian national police. There were some federal agents who went down in the wake of the kidnapping and then the earthquake happened and all hell broke loose and they just had no leads. At that point, though, very few were looking for Gardy, relatively speaking, at the time, and then when the earthquake hits, there's no infrastructure. Prisons broke, people were running out of jail... I mean, there was no resources to do anything like a proactive investigation for a missing person.
Mark:      
How many displaced children were there in the wake of the earthquake? Do you know?
Tim:          
Oh, it's hundreds of thousands. Hundreds of thousands.
Mark:      
So one missing already, it's a... Nobody cares.
Tim:         
Oh...later on, we went and talked to the Haitian police about the Gardy case, and they said, "Look, we care about this case, but the problem is, we get a missing person or missing kid report every week,

Tim gives the emotional back story of Gardy, the currently missing son of a friend, in Haiti. He talks about recent efforts to rescue him and a little about how Gardy helped start Operation Underground Railroad.   Interview w/ Tim Ballard Mark Mabry January 20, 2015
  Tim:         
Welcome to Slave Stealer Podcast. Tim Ballard here with Mark Mabry, and we're going to talk today about the story that really started Operation Underground Railroad. It's the story of a man named Guesno Mardy who is a Haitian man whose son was kidnapped, trafficked, from Port-au-Prince. He was the pastor of his congregation, and this boy was taken from church, passed on to traffickers, and vanished.
What's horrible about this story is that while he's looking for his boy - he's only two or three weeks into the search - and that's when Haiti has that earthquake that kills 300 and some thousand people. Included amongst those people were Guesno's mother, Guesno's sister, and almost his wife. She was the only person who survived in this building that collapsed and only because her body fell into, like, a crevasse of cement jungle and somehow walked out without a scratch. And that's when she said...she basically cursed the land and said, "I'm leaving. My son's been kidnapped." She had four other children at the time and she says, "I'm outta here. I'm going to Florida. I cannot live in this cursed land." And Guesno says, "I can't leave without Gardy." So they're still married and everything, but he lives in Haiti because he will not leave until he finds his son.
Mark:     
And she lives in Florida.
Tim:          
She lives in Florida.
Mark:      
That was a lot to take in for an opening paragraph.
Tim:         
Yeah. How'd you like that one?
Mark:      
That was big.
Tim:          
Yeah.
Mark:      
Let's just start here, then. Let's start into the narrative, because you gave us a good context. Take me to the first time you ever spoke to Guesno. What was your situation at the time? And what was his response?
Tim:       
I was a government agent when I heard about the case - and the reason I heard about the case was because this little boy Gardy actually was born in the United States. His parents were on a fundraising mission. They have an orphanage, beautiful orphanage, that we visit often, and it has 150 kids in it. They're on a fundraising mission, and that's when Guesno's wife, Marjorie, was pregnant with Gardy, had Gardy - he's a U.S. citizen. He's the only of the of the five kids, the (now) five kids, that's a citizen, so I...naturally, I heard about the case. There was some press on it, and I was reading about it - not very much press, but a little bit. And I thought, "I wonder what's happening with this little U.S. citizen who's been taken?"
So I started digging into it, found out that the case had been given over to the Haitian national police. There were some federal agents who went down in the wake of the kidnapping and then the earthquake happened and all hell broke loose and they just had no leads. At that point, though, very few were looking for Gardy, relatively speaking, at the time, and then when the earthquake hits, there's no infrastructure. Prisons broke, people were running out of jail... I mean, there was no resources to do anything like a proactive investigation for a missing person.
Mark:      
How many displaced children were there in the wake of the earthquake? Do you know?
Tim:          
Oh, it's hundreds of thousands. Hundreds of thousands.
Mark:      
So one missing already, it's a... Nobody cares.
Tim:         
Oh...later on, we went and talked to the Haitian police about the Gardy case, and they said, "Look, we care about this case, but the problem is, we get a missing person or missing kid report every week,

46 min