The mother of one of the LDS Church missionaries abducted in Russia and later released said Wednesday her son is doing fine. Police are saying a man arrested in the kidnapping is a former church member.
Elders Andrew Lee Propst, 20, Lebanon, Ore., and Travis Robert Tuttle, 20, Gilbert, Ariz., were kidnapped March 18 and released early Sunday. Their parents only spoke to them briefly Sunday but have had reports from church officials since then."The boys are doing just great," Mary Propst said from her home in Oregon. She hopes for another call from her son Friday or Saturday.
A man who engineered the abduction in Saratov, a city on the Volga River 450 miles southeast of Moscow, is described as an up-and-coming businessman, born in 1954, who co-founded a branch of the LDS Church in Saratov in 1993 but later left the church.
This profile was outlined by police at a Tuesday news conference in Saratov by the deputy chief of the regional branch of the Federal Security Service, Vladimir Terentyev, and the head of the branch's Investigation Department, Sergei Boldyrev, according to Interfax News Agency.
The police officials said the suspect, whose name has not been released, contacted a friend and asked him to invite the missionaries to an apartment being specially rented in Saratov's Solnechny district. Masked men surprised the missionaries with blows to the head using wooden sticks. The captors released the two Sunday morning without collecting the $300,000 ransom they had demanded.
Police have the man and a woman in custody and are looking for a third suspect.