VAN NUYS (CBSLA.com) — A missionary kidnapped in Mexico Thursday is back home safe and sound in the Southland, say officials.
Art Barron, reporting for CBS2, said church members were relieved Kyle Bauer is no longer being held for ransom in Puerto Vallarta and that the married father of four was released unharmed.
Details of the ransom negotiation are not known.
Bauer – a Van Nuy Nuys native — was in Puerto Vallarta where he has been establishing a Christian place of worship for Foursquare Church.
“He is so outgoing. A loving guy. If you meet him, he has a strong presence,” said friend and church congregant Jorge Palma.
The FBI, US Consulate and Mexican authorities all reportedly had an active hand in Bauer’s Friday release.
Palma is shocked that “something like this could happen to such an amazing guy.”
“We have this overwhelming sense of joy that he is free,” said Joel Weitzman, operations director for Santa Clarita-based Church On The Way, affiliated with the Foursquare Church. “You see things like this in movies, you read about it, but when it happens to someone you know, you definitely get a different feeling.”
Foursquare Church President Glenn Burris, Jr. said in a statement, “We are grateful to God for bringing Kyle safely back home to his wife and children.”
Bauer – who had lived in Puerto Vallarta doing missionary work since August of 2012 — is expected to discuss his ordeal Sunday morning at services in Santa Clarita.