Colombia Rebels Free Kidnaped American Gold Miner for $60,000

From Associated Press

Colombian guerrillas who kidnaped an American gold miner two months ago freed their captive after accepting $60,000 raised by the folks back home in Peoria--one-tenth the ransom the rebels had demanded.

Scott Heimdal, 27, who had been held in the Colombian jungle across the border from Ecuador, was reunited Friday evening with his parents, who flew to Quito from Illinois last week to take charge of negotiations for their son's release.

Roy and Marge Heimdal had said they would not leave the South American nation until he was freed.

Patricia Norman, a U.S. Embassy press attache, said Heimdal was "with his family here in Quito, with his mother and father."

She said the family was in seclusion at an undisclosed site in this capital city and had no immediate plans to leave.

Heimdal was turned over to Ecuadorean authorities on the San Miguel River, which runs along the border with Colombia, said Luis Felix, vice minister of the Interior.

Heimdal was kidnaped in the same area, about 100 miles northeast of Quito, on April 27.

Felix said Heimdal, who arrived in Quito on a government plane Friday evening, was examined by doctors and appeared in good health.

He said that the kidnapers--who had been demanding $612,000 for Heimdal's release--settled for the $60,000 in Colombian pesos. Heimdal's parents had raised the ransom mainly in donations from Peoria residents.

"This situation that was a cause for public worry has ended happily, thanks to the collaboration of Heimdal's family and the national police," Felix said.

Heimdal worked for IMINCO, a gold mining company. He was abducted as he left the company's camp in a dugout canoe to return to Quito.

In the attack, the guerrillas shot and killed the captain of the boat.

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