Trio attacked in Peru get government help
By Kevin Huelsmann, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
January 7, 2013
Bruised and cut, laced by stitches, three Jackson residents who were violently attacked in Peru made it safely to the capital, Lima, on Saturday.
Jennifer Wolfrom, her brother, Joseph Wolfrom, and her sister-in-law, Meghan Doherty, now are sifting through the confusing and frustrating events of last week.
They’re trying to get travel documents in order, recover their truck and figure out how they’re going to get home to Jackson.
“The calls to government officials and to the American Embassy in Peru have been a tremendous help to get things moving on our end,” Doherty said Friday in a blog post. “They are kicking ass trying to [take] care of our needs right now.”
Jennifer Wolfram expects to return home this week, said Nick Adams, her boyfriend.
Adams said Joseph Wolfrom and Doherty probably will stay in Peru to tie up loose ends and research what legal remedies they have to pursue their attackers.
The three travelers say they were trapped, beaten and robbed Dec. 29 and 30 in a village outside Cuzco. A harrowing account of the incident made the rounds last week, sparking fundraising and political efforts to get the trio home.
By Sunday, friends and family had raised more than $12,000 on CrowdTilt.com.
“It was a much bigger deal than we thought it was going to be,” Adams said Sunday.
Adams said the stranded group didn’t ask anyone to launch the fundraising campaign. It was created by friends and family in the U.S.
“It goes to show what kind of people they are, and what kind of friends and support they have,” he said.
State Sen. Leland Christensen and U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis’ staff spent several days working with the U.S. State Department to speed up efforts to help.
“When I read the first account, it was just shocking,” Christensen said Friday.
Christensen received a call from the Wolfrom family Wednesday. When he started calling around Thursday, he found that Lummis already had taken up the cause. Her staff worked through official channels to get help, but also used social media to spread the story.
“It’s one thing to go through official channels, but nowadays it’s sometimes more effective going through Facebook and things like that to get the word out,” Christensen said.
The trio’s arrival in Lima marked the end of several hard days, Adams said.
“Once senators got involved and the story started going around, only then did things start happening,” Adams said.
The trio had been having trouble getting help from U.S. and Peruvian agencies, Adams said.
The three were in bloody clothes until Saturday, he said.
“They’re frustrated about trying to get the proper help,” he added.
The travelers gave statements to the police Thursday in Cuzco. Their truck was still in Ocongate, though a U.S. consular agent was trying to have it towed to Cuzco.
Embassy staff was working with Peruvian immigration officials to find out what needed to be done to get the three Jackson residents out of Peru.
“Lastly, while the tourist police appear to be taking this matter very seriously, the embassy security officer has reached out to the chief of police of the Cuzco region to express our interest in their case and the disappointment in the response of the local police,” a state department official said Friday in an email.