On May 18, 2023, three armed men abducted a doctor located outside his home in Santo Domingo, Ecuador. National Police agents released him 24 hours later in a deserted area of the city.
The doctor was leaving his home in his vehicle when three men armed with threats took him in an unknown direction. From then until 02:00 on May 19, 2023 his whereabouts were unknown. That day his relatives received several phone calls from unknown persons demanding $7,500 from them to release him.
The family immediately alerted the National Police of the extortion. Once the incident became known, the National Directorate for Crimes against Life, Violent Deaths, Disappearances, Extortion and Kidnapping (DINSED) and the Anti-Kidnapping and Extortion Unit (ANSE) took over police intelligence and investigation.
And finally, on Friday it became possible to trace the area where the health professional was being held. At around 3:00 p.m., agents managed to free him in the Santa Martha Sector, Santo Domingo and transferred him to a medical center to receive the necessary medical attention. The victim was found in a wooden shed covered with plastic and surrounded by garbage.
Four civilians involved in the kidnapping for extortion have also been arrested at the same place. All were placed under orders from the authority competent to stand trial for the offence. Further, a cell phone, a debit card and a sharp weapon were seized as evidence.
This is the second known case of abduction of a health professional in the country. On April 29 this year, a doctor was kidnapped north of Quito. Six hours later he was found alive near the Metropolitan Hospital.
In addition, the Medical Federation, College of Physicians, and hospital directors condemned, on 9 May, that doctors, nurses, and health workers are being subjected to extortion and intimidation in public hospitals in Ecuador. For this reason, he called for immediate action by the government, including the militarization of health centers.