A Haitian couple who once lived in Fort Myers and returned to the island to continue a religious ministry just a month ago, were shot to death in their home Sunday.
Pastor Jean Phillippe-Quetant, 57, and his wife, Erna Plancher-Quetant, 54, were killed in a home invasion-style robbery. Police told family members the killers were a local armed gang.
Jean Baptiste Corgelas, 56, of Fort Myers, said Erna Planchar-Quetant was his sister and was deeply saddened by the killings. He said the couple’s five children, Kevin Quetant, Nehemy Quetant, Dan A. Quetant, Tabitha G. Quetant, and Eleazar Quetant, grew up in Fort Myers.
“There is nothing we can do,” he said. “I told them not to go, the situation (in Haiti) was not so good.”
Corgelas said his sister, who was also a nurse, and brother-in-law had an answer for him.
“She looked at me and said ‘God will provide everything,” he said. “They were only there a month. They started doing ministry and they were killed.”
News reports said in a four-week period ending Aug. 28 more than 16 people were killed by gangs in the Port-Au-Prince area with one victim the head of the Port-au-Prince bar association. The Haitian National Police issued a red alert.
A U.S. State Department advisory against travel to Haiti on Aug. 6 warned of widespread violent crime, such as armed robbery, carjacking, and kidnapping, with victims having included U.S. citizens.
Beatrice Jacquet-Castor of Fort Myers, president of the Haitian-American Community Coalition of SW Florida, and a friend of the family, said the couple lived in Fort Myers for more than 20 years.
They had moved to Ocala not long ago and returned to Haiti from there.
“I will always remember Pastor Jean Phillippe-Quetant and his wife, Edna Plancher-Quetant, fondly and have wonderful memories when they attended First Haitian Baptist Church of Fort Myers,” Jaquet-Castor said in a Facebook posting. “Pastor Quetant and his wife, Edna, leaves behind a wonderful family and I know you will all be a great source of comfort and support to one another.”
According to ANMWE, a Haitian media site, the couple was killed Sunday morning at their home in the town of Croix-des-Bouquets, east of Port-au-Prince.
No arrests has been made, the ANMWE report said.
Kevin Quetant said his parents moved to the United States from Haiti years ago for a better life. They had just a month ago returned to the island.
He posted on a Gofundme page: “They studied and worked very hard while raising triplets, a son and a daughter. They were the most giving righteous family.”
The Gofundme page has collected more than $17,000, funds the family said would be used to bring the couple’s bodies back to Florida.
“Our father Jean Phillippe was a very well-known pastor who loved God and his community with all his soul. Jean Phillippe would often wake up nights and pray over their children as they slept. A true protector, loving father,” Kevin Quetant said on the Gofundme page. “Our mother Erma was a dedicated front-line healthcare worker, working long hours in order to provide for her family. She would come home exhausted but always made sure she had her children ready for church every Sunday and a family dinner prepared every night.”
The couple made the decision to return to Haiti as their children turned older and wanted to minister to people on the island.
“They continued working hard to complete their dream of building a church, orphanage and providing new resources; such as food and clothing donation faith-based services, along with basic necessity needs for underserved community in Haiti,” Kevin Quetant said.