Missing In Lebanon!

I was shocked to discover that two journalists at the Jordan Times went missing during the Eid holiday while in Lebanon.

AMMAN – The search continued on Wednesday for The Jordan Times editor and reporter Taylor Luck, 23, and freelance writer Holli Chmela, 27, who went missing during a vacation in Lebanon during the Eid Al Fitr holiday.

A statement from the US embassy in Amman yesterday said the families of Chmela and Luck were asking for the public’s assistance in providing information on the possible whereabouts of the two US citizens.

“They have not been heard from since October 1, 2008 when they reportedly departed Beirut en route to Byblos and Tripoli,” the statement said. [source]

Holli tagged along with the Action Committee back several weeks ago when we went to Baqa’a camp to distribute school bags and I hope that both she and Taylor are safe.

Elsewhere in Beirut…

A Jordanian mother and her three daughters, aged eight, five and three, were kidnapped on Thursday while they were in their private car waiting for the father who was late behind at the Beau Rivage Hotel where they were staying while spending the Eid Al Fitr holiday.

The father, Motaz Abu Hammoudeh, said over the phone from Beirut yesterday that he and the family “were preparing ourselves on Thursday morning to go sightseeing. My wife and three daughters went downstairs 10 minutes ahead of me, but when I got out of the hotel I didn’t find them or the car”.

He added that his white Peugeot 206 was parked in front of the hotel when an unknown person jumped in the driver seat while his family was in the car and quickly drove away. His wife does not drive, he said. [source

UPDATE: Holli and Taylor are detained in Syria for entering without a visa. The details are still absent. Ammoun has a report.


  • I read the first story off Jad’s blog a while ago and started feeling sick in the stomach.. and now I read this horrific abduction story here! I just hope all are found, and that they return home safe and sound!

  • I just read about this story literally minutes before reading this post. I don’t know what to make of it, too little information-but what it is it’s not good news.

  • Wow, two horrible stories. May Allah return all of them safely. I guess this is not the time to visit Lebanon. Sad news. What an extreme pity.

  • Someone should get it to the press that Holli was involved with distributing school bags to refugee families in Baqa – It might help counter the rumours that these people are spies.

  • Salam,
    Husband just called from car (3 p.m. Thurs) and said that Holli and Taylor have been detained in Syria for entering w/ out a visa. They are OK as far as the report says. Alhamdulillah.

  • Oh my God. Once I heared about the disappearence and the fact that Taylor was planning to go to Aleppo I had a striking feeling that it will be something related to being detained in Syria.
    For God sake, always go by plane from Amman to Beirut and vice versa!

  • For any American nationals that crosses Syria, without a visa.he or she must obtain a visa in order to cross or visit,isn’t that what will happen when a syrian crosses the US or maybe they will end up in guantanmo?

  • loool no alurduni,

    its still Syria the devil fault as Batir is trying to indicate since thats their nature !!! (loool) when US or Jordan arrest ppl who got in illegally then its perfectly fine and admirable.

    for two to attempt illegal entry an enemy state (Syria/America) is such a normal action and they should not have thought they are doing any form of action that deserve been caught because they help in a charity project in Amman (LOL @Abu Fadi)

  • looooool Layla so you just assume their statement is correct? what about the hundreds of Jordanians who were/are detained in Syria without a reason? If you had a family member that disappeared since 10 years without any news you will not be able to lol!

  • Batir,

    And why are you assuming that i don’t have a family member who got detained in Syria with out a reason? or spent years in Jail for that matter? I actually do 🙂 so you should really get out of your Syrian Phobia and hate propaganda, its old fashion.

    All sides story is out now since they are back and based on what they said the Syrian version of the story is correct, they entered the country illegally and they were detained for that and i guess thats pretty normal and what must be done to begin with.

    Anyway what is strange is the part that they were kidnapped and that they are so fine about it, they are Journalists, been in the region for a while, actually picked to go to Lebanon by Plane because its dangerous to cross by car and aware that everything out there is critical and suspicious. and booked one-way ticket because they planned to come back by car.

    yet they accepted to take a cab with some random person, found out that they entered the Syrian side and did nothing – any normal person would fight back, jump out of the car, scream, do anything to get people attention. i assume their should be bruises or a broken leg or hand, they are kidnapped in a war zone, the least you can do is resist not remain so cool and fine when you ask where is the border and you get no answer back !!

    and they also did nothing when the authorities caught them, they claim they acted cautious by hiding their profession and said nothing about negotiation with authorities, demanding to contact any person or the embassy for example? and waited sooo peacefully till some officer recognized the girl!!!!!!!!!!

    seriously, i don’t know what happened, whether they are spies or not or just being out the box adventurous , they could be naive or were shocked they couldn’t act well for 9 days. but please at least accept me making fun of the old school lets always and any way blame it on Syria kind of mentality 🙂

    and oh Lool :p

  • Laila,, Let me tell you about a story happened with me 1979 when I was “illegal” in the US.
    I was travelling by car with friend of mine from SF to New York And in a town called Casablanca near the Mexican US border ,we were stopped by High way patrol and to make the story short, we were arrested by the police and then handed over to the INS and jailed for three days in pretty ugly detention Camps , and eventually ,we were released on bail that one of my relative had to up to be released ,just imagine what will happen to me and my friends if we were to be arrested in 2008? ,most likely we will not see the light for 3 years and maybe,if we are lucky enough, we will be sent to Jordan for torture to escape Guantanamo…

  • if theyre trying to sneak in they deserve to be arrested .. im sure any country would do the same .. they should thank God for their american passports which probably saved them a world of pain ..

    on a different note .. i cant believe the amount of attention this got ..

  • right, and no one would object of course, US has the right to defend it self.

    Anyway i find it very very very ironic that everyone accepted the journalists story and fine with it? ya 3aib el shoom bas

  • Layla
    Maybe I am old school as you claim, but nothing would make me happier than a new school mentality where people can get into and out of this Lebanon-Syria geographical connection without any fear of detention and disappearance.
    ya 3aib el shoom on justifying what is completely wrong!

  • the woman and her children were missing and not taken hostage! motaz never mentioned that he saw a man jump into his car and drive off.

    The whole story had a bad smell to it from the start sounded too grey to make any kind of sense to me. What reasons would lebanese have to hijack the woman and kids???? please people dont swallow what Jordanian media publishes or what AlWakeel screams please have your own say that is true freedom of speech.

  • yazan: please note i did not say they were taken hostage, i merely highlighted what local media reported, which to their credit, were reporting what information was available at the time. it should also be noted that taking someone hostage and kidnapping are not the same thing.

    but thanks for the lesson on free speech 😀

Your Two Piasters: