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Kidnapped Mormon sister missionaries freed in Guatemala

Published: Friday, Dec. 21 2012 8:12 p.m. MST

MESA, Ariz. — Rodrigo Trevino was informed Thursday morning by his LDS Church bishop that his missionary daughter, Sara Catherine Trevino, had been kidnapped in Guatemala.

"It was awful," he said. "We didn't sleep until 3 a.m. when they were released."

Guatemalan authorities told the Associated Press that Sara Trevino, of Mesa, Ariz., and her missionary companion, whose name has not yet been confirmed, were held for two days in the town of Escuintla before being freed early Friday by a special police anti-kidnapping unit helped by the FBI.

Three kidnappers were captured during the rescue, two Nicaraguan men and an 18-year-old Guatemalan woman, according to The Associated Press.

Rodrigo Trevino said he was able to speak with his daughter after she was freed. He said she had come out of the experience determined to finish the term of her mission in Guatemala and confident she had been protected through her faith.

"I told her to come home," he said. "She wants to stay all the way through May."

Rodrigo Trevino said the two women were not harmed by their captors and were brave throughout the ordeal. Sara Trevino told her father they never cried or broke down, and they had even managed to share some of the LDS missionary teachings with their captors.

"She told her president, 'Don't worry, we got our lessons in,'" Rodrigo Trevino said. "The whole time she felt like there were angels protecting them."

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement Friday, in part praising the "diligent efforts of all those involved in securing (the women's) release."

"We are grateful for the safe return of two sister missionaries serving in the Guatemala City Central Mission. … We pray continually for the well being of our missionaries across the world. Thankfully, such incidents are very rare.

"Most realize that these young people have dedicated this portion of their lives to sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. They do so at their own expense because of a desire to serve others, and are known throughout the world for the goodness of their lives and the message they share," the statement read.

E-mail: benwood@desnews.com

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