PEORIA, ILL. -- Roy and Marge Heimdal marched into a Peoria bank Friday, clutching coffee cans stuffed with money as they concluded a fund-raising campaign to ransom their son held in South America.
In less than four days, the Heimdals raised $60,000 demanded as ransom by Maoist guerrillas who ambushed 27-year-old Scott Heimdal in a jungle in Ecuador on April 28. Marge Heimdal said the kidnappers, reportedly members of a Colombian group known as the Popular Liberation Army, have threatened to "show us where his body is."
The attack left one man dead and another seriously injured.
The financially strapped Heimdals made a televised appeal for funds last week. The $60,000 was wired to a bank in Ecuador, where it will be taken by an intermediary into the jungle along the Ecuador-Colombia border this weekend to meet the kidnappers.
"The funds will be handled by professional negotiators who have been handling this situation for us. It'll be their responsibility to get some of the funds to the kidnappers," though probably not all of the money at first "and make a deal to get him out of there," Roy Heimdal said.
In Quito, a U.S. Embassy official who spoke on condition of anonymity said U.S. diplomats are not involved in negotiations with the guerrillas.