State Dept Mum on Missing Priest in Greece UPDATE: Priest is Safe, Contacted Family
Father Christiaan Kappes, a priest for the Indianapolis Archdiocese, went missing in Greece last Monday after telling his family he feared for his life. His father, Virgil Kappes, encouraged his son to go to the US Embassy for help. While at the embassy, Father Kappes called his father, who over heard the conversation. The State Department confirmed Father Kappes did visit the embassy, but he did not request safe haven. His father said his son left the embassy because he was denied safe haven. Mr. Kappes thinks the State Department is trying to cover up a mistake.
“This is the incompetency of the administration, not taking a person in,” he said.
Before hanging up Father Kappes thanked his father for everything he’s done and told him he loved him. Then, he said: “Dad, if you don’t hear from me in 12 to 24 hours, I’m dead. Don’t worry. You’re never going to find me again.”
The back story has sinister overtonres. Kappes friend and translator, Ioanna Lekakou, inherited property from her grandparents and sold it for 70,000 euros. Her family was not happy about this and wanted the money for themselves. They tried to make her give it up, including her own mother who orchestrated an attack on her. On her Facebook, page Father Kappes’s sister Nadia Charcap said he told them Ms. Lekakou’s own mother had her tortured, raped, and beaten. He was a target because she made him the executor of her will. She knew Father Kappes would distribute the 70,000 euros to the poor.
After the embassy fiasco another priest dropped them off at the airport. They planned on staying the night in the Delta VIP Lounge until their flights the next day. The Kappes family went to the airport to meet Ms. Lekakou, whose flight was before Father Kappes, but she never arrived. Airline officials said she never boarded the plane and Father Kappes didn’t board his either.
The State Department doesn’t seem too concerned, which is very frustrating for the family. A US embassy official told Mrs. Charcapp that her brother and his translator “might have gone off together.”
"(My brother) would not do that," Charcap said. "For me to even sink to the level of believing some politician over in Greece who is supposed to look out for his welfare, who turned him away in his time of need and is now changing his story and saying that my brother is being irate and just really mad at Ioanna and that, 'He must have just run off and who knows what happened?' I don't believe it and until you show me surveillance and you show me, then I'll believe it."
This morning Mrs. Charcap put on her Facebook the police found a broken cell phone and sim card.
America's Old Media has not picked up the story, but the Greece media is doing an excellent job. Athens News is doing a fantastic job investigating and taking the situation seriously, unlike our own State Department. One would think after the fiasco in Libya the State Department would step up and do their jobs instead of dismissing this case. An American is missing after having his life threatened.
UPDATE: If you're abroad and your life is in danger make sure you know the magic words when you go to the US Embassy.
Father Kappes's sister Nadia Charcap updated her Facebook page last night saying the State Department denied her brother a safe haven because he asked for sanctuary or asylum. If he asked specifically for a safe haven then they would have saved him.
But there's another problem. They originally said he never asked for safety.
Which one is it? Either way the State Department comes out with egg on their face. An American citizen went to them for help and they denied him. Then they lied about him asking for help, but seeing the evidence contradicted him now they say he asked for the wrong help.
UPDATE: Good news to report about missing American priest Father Kappes in Greece. His sister updated her Facebook page saying he has made contact with his family. He and his translator made it out safe and both are in good health.
This still does not excuse the State Department's treatment of him at the US Embassy. When an American citizen says their life is threatened the embassy should help them.