Miami Fugitive Placed on FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List; $2 Million Reward for Capture
On November 15, the FBI Miami Field Office, along with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the U.S. Department of State, announced the addition of Vitel’Homme Innocent, a.k.a. Vitel’Homme, to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list for his alleged involvement in the October 2021 kidnapping of 16 U.S. citizen Christian missionaries in Haiti and for his alleged role in the October 2022 armed hostage taking in Haiti of two U.S. citizens, one of whom was killed during the event. He is the 532nd person placed on the list since its inception in 1950.
The Department of State, through their Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program and in coordination with the FBI, is offering an increased reward of up to $2,000,000 for information leading to his arrest and/or conviction.
Federal indictments, announced on November 7, 2022, charged Vitel’Homme with conspiracy to commit hostage taking and hostage taking for his role in the armed kidnapping of 16 U.S. citizens in Haiti in the fall of 2021. The victims were Christian missionaries serving near Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and most of them were held captive for 61 days before escaping. The group included five children, one as young as eight months old at the time of the kidnapping.
The 400 Mawozo gang, which operates in Croix-des-Bouquets area to the east of Port-au-Prince, claimed responsibility for the missionaries’ kidnapping. The Kraze Barye gang, led by Vitel’Homme, operates in the Torcelle and Tabarre area of Haiti. According to the indictment, Vitel’Homme worked together with 400 Mawozo in the hostage taking.
A second indictment unsealed on October 24, 2023, charged Vitel’Homme for his alleged role in the October 2022 armed hostage taking in Haiti of two U.S. citizens, one of whom was killed during the event.
Vitel’Homme ordered gang members to kidnap Jean Franklin and Marie Odette Franklin from their home in Haiti on October 7, 2022. On that date, armed gang members forced entry into the Franklin residence and attempted to kidnap the couple by force. During the kidnapping, Marie Odette Franklin was shot and killed by the gang members. Her husband was taken into captivity and held at an undisclosed location in Haiti. While Jean Franklin was in captivity, Vitel’Homme participated in ransom negotiations in exchange for his release. On October 28, 2022, Jean Franklin was released from captivity following ransom payments made to the gang on behalf of his family.
“Haitian gang leader Vitel’Homme Innocent is the 532nd fugitive added to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted [Fugitives] list for his alleged involvement in the kidnapping and killing of U.S. citizens in Haiti,” said Jeffrey B. Veltri, special agent in charge, FBI Miami. “The State Department is offering a reward of up to $2,000,0000 for information leading to his arrest and/or conviction. Our resolve to bring him to account for his alleged crimes will not waver. I want to thank the State Department's Diplomatic Security Service and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia for their close cooperation and partnership investigating these cases.”
“Vitel’Homme Innocent is charged in the death of an American citizen and alleged involvement in the kidnappings of more than a dozen Americans in Haiti,” said U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves. “We applaud FBI Miami’s dedication to this case. It is our hope that with the placement on the top ten list, the reward, and the public’s help, Vitel’Homme Innocent will be brought to justice.”
"Through the Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program (TOCRP), the United States remains committed to supporting all populations in Haiti and around the world made vulnerable through kidnapping for ransom and other criminal activities of violent gangs," said Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Todd D. Robinson.
“DSS, working closely with our FBI partners, is committed to ensuring that those involved in the kidnapping and killing of U.S. citizens face severe consequences for their criminal actions. With the addition of Vitel’Homme Innocent to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted [Fugitives] list, our government has sent a strong message that we will work together to guarantee the capture and prosecution of any individual set on causing harm to our civilians and our nation,” said Phillippe Furstenberg, special agent in charge of the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), Miami Field Office.
Vitel’Homme is believed to be in Haiti and has ties to other countries throughout the Caribbean. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov. You can remain anonymous; however, tipsters could receive a reward of up to $2,000,000 for information leading to his arrest and/or conviction.
Additional information concerning Vitel’Homme, including his wanted poster, as well as the FBI’s official list of the “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives,” can be found by visiting the FBI’s webpage at fbi.gov/wanted.
The FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list was established in March of 1950. Since then, 494 of the 532 fugitives placed on the list have been apprehended or located: 163 of them as a result of citizen cooperation. Since its inception, Vitel’Homme is the eleventh fugitive from the FBI Miami Field Office to be placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list with the most recent being Diego Leon Montoya Sanchez, who was placed on the list in May of 2004. He was removed from the list in September 2007, when he arrested without incident by Colombian authorities in LaPaila, Colombia.
- Criminal Charges Unsealed Against Haitian Gang Leaders For Kidnappings of U.S. Citizens (United States Department of Justice press release)
- Haitian Gang Leader Charged with Hostage Taking Offenses that Resulted in the Death of a U.S. Citizen in Haiti in October 2022 (U.S. Department of Justice press release)