Dateline NBC has quite a tale for viewers this Friday night. It’s the story of a Filipino-American teen and his mother who were kidnapped by terrorists while on an exotic beach vacation in the Philippines.
Dateline NBC’s story will chronicle the events of Kevin Lunsmann and his mother, Gerfa Lunsmann, a Lynchburg, Virginia, family who was targeted by al-Qaeda-like terrorists. Their harrowing tale is one that is sure to keep NBC viewers and Dateline fans on the edge of their seats. The episode is titled “Kidnapped.” Their story will be told from the perspective of Heiko Lunsmann, the father and husband who received the frantic call that his wife and son had been kidnapped.
Exotic Family Vacation Turns Into A Real-Life Nightmare For Mother And Son
It was 2011 when Gerfa and Kevin Lunsmann set off on a vacation in the Philippines, where they planned to visit Gerfa’s family members and soak up the sun. For two weeks, the Filipino-American teen went swimming, snorkeling, and enjoyed the authentic cuisine that his distant family members cooked, according to the Washington Post.
But what had started out as a family vacation on the gorgeous beach of Tictabon Island turned into a hellacious nightmare for Gerfa and Kevin Lunsmann as they were ripped from their hut by armed men and dragged into the darkness bound for a remote location that sat under a thick and lush green canopy of trees. Their temporary home was a five-foot-by-five-foot makeshift cage made up of branches and boards, Dateline’s story will reveal.
In the jungle, they were held against their will as the kidnappers demanded ransom money. Terrified, Kevin Lunsmann couldn’t understand much of what was going as he spent hours and days in the cage, where he felt hungry, dirty, and hopeless. He did hold out for the possibility that someone might rescue them. However, no one came to the rescue.
Back home in Lynchburg, Virginia, Dateline’s story will show that Heiko Lunsmann had received a call from Gerfa’s family, stating that his wife and son were being held hostage in the Philippines. Shocked and saddened, the worried father and husband didn’t have any idea what to do next. He was later bombarded with a series of calls from the terrorists, demanding that the maintenance worker pay a $10 million ransom. There was no way to raise that kind of money so for months he felt nothing but fear and despair.
Gerfa Lunsmann was eventually freed after some sort of payment was made to the terrorists, according to the Daily Mail. But Kevin Lunsmann was left all alone with the kidnappers. The 14-year-old teen stayed in captivity for several more months, until he realized that it was time for him to make a move.
“I had that backpack ready so if the opportunity ever came,” he said. His heart was racing, thinking about what would happen if he got caught. Then something seemed to snap. I looked at my bag and I just felt something. It was time. I couldn’t stay there any longer.”
The Washington Post continues with what happened next.
“The guard had gone upstairs. Kevin picked up his backpack and crept through the door into the next room. Carefully, silently, he put the backpack. So scared he didn’t even think about it, he snatched a long knife in a bamboo sheath and slipped it into the bag. He heard the guard’s footsteps, grabbed his backpack and ran. Kevin ran as fast and as silently as he could downhill away from the huts, straight to the river, where trees would help hide him. His bag was heavy, but he knew he needed it. After hours of running, he ran up a steep hill to see where he was, then turned in the direction of the ocean. Night fell with a full moon, but Kevin kept running.”
The courageous teen was eventually saved by a farmer who spoke English. On Dateline, you’ll hear Kevin Lunsmann detail how his life has been since he was released and how the kidnapping continues to impact him even today.
Authorities say that Kevin and Gerfa Lunsmann were taken hostage by Abu Sayyaf and several other men in his militant group. For more gripping details, watch Dateline this Friday, January 20 at 10/9 p.m. Central on NBC. Last week, Dateline aired an episode on beloved President Barack Obama and his tearful farewell.
— Dateline NBC (@DatelineNBC) January 19, 2017
[Featured Image by AP Images]