The Associated Press
November 8, 2000

Americans Saved in Guatemala Attack


          Filed at 11:24 p.m. ET

          GUATEMALA CITY (AP) -- Hundreds of villagers in northern
          Guatemala captured and threatened to kill four people, including two
          Americans, Wednesday after rumor spread that the group was involved
          in kidnapping 3-year-old twins.

          Police were still looking for children on Wednesday, a day after they
          were snatched from their home in the rural hamlet of San Jose in northern
          Peten state.

          A crowd began forming almost immediately after the kidnapping was
          reported, said Faustino Sanchez, a spokesman for Guatemala's national
          police force.

          The villagers reacted violently late Tuesday after 45-year-old American
          Bill Bruce, who owns a house close to the twins' home, told police he
          had information on their whereabouts.

          When police tried to intervene, the locals threw rocks, pieces of cinder
          block and bottles, cursing and beating Bruce, his brother and two
          Guatemalan men.

          Police and representatives from the U.N. Mission to Guatemala hours
          later persuaded the mob to free the men, Sanchez said.

          Police said they found no evidence the men were invloved in the

          Sanchez said it appeared the children were stolen for sale into adoption.

          A recent U.N. Children's Fund report named Guatemala the world's third
          leading exporter of children for illegal adoption, behind only Russia and
          China. It also concluded that babies are usually shipped to unknowing
          adoptive parents in the United States, Canada and Europe.