Oklahoma Couple Held For Ransom Thousands of Miles From Home

Wednesday, April 25th 2012, 9:36 pm
By: News 9

A Norman couple escapes after being captured and held for ransom thousands of miles from home.

It's an experience they say they will never forget. It could have been a scene right of an Indiana Jones movie. They were more than a week away from civilization, and diseases were running rampant.

Mike and Libby Dillard have been tackling peaks throughout the world for years.

"My wife is a mountain climber," Libby's husband Mike said. "That's her passion in life."

The goal of the last trip was to scale about 16,000 feet to the top of Carstensz in Indonesia. One week in from the foot of the mountain and just two hours from the top, Libby got sick.

"She had dysentery, she was exhausted and she was dehydrated," Mike said.

In the middle of nowhere, the couple turned to their guide who said for $7,000 he would arrange a vehicle to pick them up from a nearby goldmine, the largest goldmine in the world.

"That's ludicrous because it's like saying I'll have a vehicle pick you up in Dallas and not tell you where in Dallas," Mike said.

But, the couple had no other option. Once they arrived at the mine, guards detained them for trespassing and held them for ransom. While in captivity, Libby's condition grew worse.

"I was certain that she would die," Mike said.

Just as it seemed things would never get better, a doctor caring for Libby turned into their hero. He helped the couple escape by sneaking Libby onto an ambulance and sneaking Mike into a car.

"Basically, [he] hid us on there," Mike said. "We got out of the mountain before they knew we were gone."

Mike says the American Embassy was powerless to help them. Libby was diagnosed with a mild case of malaria, but she is doing OK now.

The couple was held captive for four days before making their escape. They say they do not plan on attempting to climb Carstensz again.