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Family’s grief turns to happiness as missionaries are rescued

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Posted at 8:42 PM, Dec 22, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-23 00:14:54-05

SALT LAKE CITY - The family of a sister missionary who was kidnapped then rescued in Guatemala earlier this week says grief turned to happiness as they went through the ordeal.

22-year-old Sara Trevino and her 22-year-old Ecuadorian companion were serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Guatemala City.

Police say the pair were kidnapped late Wednesday and held captive while their kidnappers demanded ransom.

Sara Trevino's father Rob says his family received a visit from their LDS bishop on Thursday morning to tell them that Sara and her companion had been kidnapped.

"Overwhelmed with grief and despair and helpless because she's so far away. There's nothing you can do. You're just sitting here at their mercy just whatever their ransom is and whatever their demands are," Rob Trevino said.

Sara's family spent the better part of the next day and a half struggling with the idea that Sara might not be coming home.

"I didn't really know what to do. My dad was crying, my mom was crying," said Athena Trevino, Sara's sister. "I was so worried that I wasn't going to be able to see her again."

But that fear turned into joy on Friday morning when the Trevinos got a call from the FBI saying Sara and her companion had been rescued with the help of local police early that morning.

With the help of the FBI and local police, the two were rescued early Friday morning and their captors arrested.

The girls were reportedly kept in a house for two days, blindfolded with their hands tied. Sara told her parents that she and her companion were not hurt and they even tried to teach their captors lessons about God.

"She knows that God was protecting her through this big ordeal. She could feel the angels protecting her and her companion while this whole thing unfolded. Never once did they fear for their life," Rob Trevino said.

Sara has said she'll stay in Guatemala for the remainder of her mission, which will wrap up in May.

"She could finish stateside, she could take an easy route but she said that she feels that's where she needs to be. She knows that God was protecting her through this big ordeal," Rob Trevino said.

The Guatemalan Interior Ministry says three people - Jesus Gabriel Calero Mairena, 30, Juan Carlos Mairena, 31, and Julissa Maricela Perez Colindres, 18 - were arrested.

At least one of those arrested is suspected in the kidnapping and murder of a 61-year-old Ecuadorian engineer.