Miller Co. man held hostage by rebels - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Miller Co. man held hostage by rebels

October 7, 2003

Miller County - A south Georgia man is still being held captive by Columbian rebels. Keith Stansell has been held hostage since February. Recently his family in Miller County saw a taped interview where Stansell warns government officials to negotiate instead of rescue. This interview will be played on American television.

The yellow ribbons may be faded, but hope is still shining bright in Miller County. Stansell's 15-year-old daughter, Lauren Stansell, says, "It was unreal something you never expected." Her dad was captured by Columbian rebels seven months ago. He's still not home. She says, "We're going to keep him home when he makes it. He will not be going back."

His plane crashed in southern Columbia. Two passengers were killed and three American defense contractors, including Stansell, were taken hostage. Lauren says, "It really renewed our faith they were going to make it home someday. It was very relieving."

Stansell's family recently watched a taped interview between a Columbian journalist and the captives. Stansell said, "I don't want to die. I don't want anybody dying trying to get me out of here". They want negotiations instead of a rescue. Lauren adds, "They said on the video they were being treated fine and they were in good health."

Stephanie Holt talked to Stansell's fiance about the tape. Holt says, "His words to them were to stay focus and stay positive."

Other friends remember talking to him a week before he left. [Tammy Richardson remembers, "He said this is my last trip. I'm ready to come home and settle down. I'm missing out of my children's activities."

The people in Miller County are pulling together and hoping Stansell returns to his family soon.

Stansell's interview will be on Sixty Minutes Two on CBS Wednesday (October 8th). It will also be on the History Channel Thursday night at ten.

posted at 5:09PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com

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