Philippine kidnappers have released Ellicott City native Tracy Rectanus and three others, all unharmed, after eight days of captivity on a remote island.
"We are one happy family," Ms. Rectanus' mother, Hazel Rectanus, said last evening, shortly after receiving word from the State Department that her daughter, a missionary teacher, was free.
Friends had begun calling about noon, telling the family that Cable News Network was reporting that the Muslim separatist Moro National Liberation Front, which had been aiding government negotiations, had arranged for the release of Ms. Rectanus, 34, and the other hostages to authorities in a village about 600 miles south of Manila.
U.S. Embassy officials in Manila confirmed the release. "As far as their physical condition goes, they are fine," a spokesman said. "We will be getting them back to Manila as soon as we can."
Mrs. Rectanus and her husband, Larry, who live on Dogwood Drive, said they had not talked with their daughter.
"She has such strong faith in the Lord, I know she'll be emotionally well and intellectually well" despite her eight-day ordeal, Mrs. Rectanus said.
The daughter had gone to Manila in August to teach speech pathology in a missionary school run by the California-based Summer Institute of Linguistics.
In February she told her parents she and fellow teacher Carol Allen of Kittanning, Pa., were going to visit a friend on Jolo island while on spring break.
The teachers were kidnapped there along with three other people, one of whom, an infant, was released hours later.
The kidnappers initially demanded $77,000 and four M-14 assault rifles. They later reduced the demands and finally dropped ransom demands altogether, asking only to be reimbursed for expenses.