New findings will keep Idaho mission leaders in Haiti, for now

New findings will keep Idaho mission leaders in Haiti, for now
American missionary Laura Silsby, 40, center, and Charisa Coulter, 24, left, both of Meridian, Idaho, are escorted by police officers towards the courthouse in Port-au-Prince, Friday, Feb. 19, 2010. (AP Photo/Javier Galeano)

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – The fate of two "missionaries" from Idaho, Laura Silsby and Charissa Coulter, is still unknown as they spend yet another night locked up in Haiti.

The judge is looking over new documents that could link the two women to possible illegal travel in addition to other allegations of kidnapping after the two led a mission to take 33 children out of Haiti to a Dominican Republic orphanage. Haiti's investigation determined none of the children were orphans.

On Wednesday the Haitian judge in this case, Judge Bernard Saint-Vil, was awaiting a recommendation from prosecutors and was expected to order that the two woman be released. The rest of the mission team had gone home Feb. 17.

On Thursday, these new documents surfaced. Louis Ricardo Chachoute, a lawyer on the now-dubbed "U.S. Missionary Defense Team," told reporters the documents do not hold any incriminating information.

"Our clients are innocent," Chachoute said, "because the documents reveal there is no criminal conspiracy, no kidnapping."

The Haitian Justice Minister said the documents will help investigators determine if Silsby and Coulter should stay in Haiti or be released.

Silsby continues to deny doing anything wrong, saying she was only trying to help desperate orphans. On Feb. 9, ABC reported that Silsby went to Haiti while facing deep financial problems at home, including foreclosure and numerous lawsuits for what those suing claimed were unpaid bills.

Silby and Coulter reportedly are co-founders of New Life Children's Refuge. This agency led the bus full of Haitian children that was stopped at Haiti's boarder, resulting in the group's imprisonment in Port-au-Prince.