MIRAMAR, FLA. (WSVN) - Federal authorities have added a Haitian gang leader to their “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list for his alleged involvement in the October 2021 kidnapping of 16 U.S. citizen Christian missionaries in Haiti and his role in the October 2022 armed hostage taking that resulted in the death of a U.S. citizen.
A reward of up to $2,000,000 is being offered for information leading to Vitel’Homme Innocent’s arrest and/or conviction through the Department of State’s Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program, the FBI announced at a news conference at their office in Miramar, Wednesday afternoon.
“Being added to the FBI list does not bode well for Vitel’Homme,” said Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey B. Veltri, FBI Miami.
Two federal indictments, issued on Nov. 7, 2022, and Oct. 24 of this year charge Innocent with conspiracy to commit hostage taking and hostage taking. The first case involves the 2021 kidnapping of 17 missionaries near Port-au-Prince, where 400 Mawozo gang claimed responsibility.
The group of missionaries, which included five children, including an 8-month-old, were held for 61 days before they managed to escape.
“Vitel’Homme is a Haitian national and the leader of a ring of criminals known as the Kraze Barye Gang, who brazenly prey on defenseless people,” said Veltri.
Authorities said the second case, in 2022, includes the armed hostage taking of two U.S. citizens, one fatally shot during the event.
In the latter case, the FBI said that Innocent ordered the kidnapping of Jean Franklin and Marie Odette Franklin in Haiti on October 7, 2022. Marie Odette was killed during the kidnapping, and Jean was held captive until his release on October 28, 2022, after ransom payments.
“Heinous crimes committed against united States citizens just living their lives while working abroad,” said Veltri.
This string of kidnappings, Veltri said, will not be tolerated.
“Let me be clear: the FBI’s resolve to bring Vitel’Homme to justice for his alleged crimes will not waver,” he said.
U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves expressed hope that the placement on the top ten list, the reward, and public assistance will lead to Innocent’s justice.
“We applaud FBI-Miami’s dedication to this case. It is our hope that with the placement on the top ten list, the reward, and the public’s help, Vitel’Homme Innocent will be brought to justice,” said Graves.
Vitel’Homme is believed to be in Haiti, with ties to other Caribbean countries.
Of the more than 500 people who have ever been on the the FBI;s Ten Most Wanted List, more than 90% have been located.
Anyone with information on his whereabouts is urged to contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov. Informants may remain anonymous and could receive a reward of up to $2,000,000 for information leading to his arrest and/or conviction.
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