NAPLES, Fla.- Two private investigators signed on for a mission of a lifetime. Both risked their lives during a daring rescue to pull an American and her children out of Egypt.
Because of the severity of the mission, names of the family involved will not be disclosed. During the mission, the investigators did not have the backing of the U.S. government and were on their own if something went wrong.
Naples Security Solutions answered a phone call from a family desperate to get their loved ones back. They explained to the investigators, Chris Knott and Mike Perl, one of their family members and her children were being held hostage by her husband in Egypt.
The two had met in the United States, both were doctors who fell in love and were married.
“She is of Christian faith and he is Muslim,” explained Knott.
The difference in religions would not play a huge role in their marriage until five years in. The woman said her husband’s mentality changed. He gravitated toward Islam, he cut off her family and made no friends.
He no longer wanted to live in the United States and demanded they move to Egypt. When the family wouldn’t go, he suggested a trip instead. She hesitated but went against her family’s wishes.
“They knew he had the capability to do this but she didn’t want to see it I guess,” explained Perl.
“He destroyed their passports and said they would never go back. He said he would kill the family before they were allowed to go back to the United States,” said Knott.
The family reached out to lawmakers for help but no one would get involved. So her brother tracked down Knott and Perl who own Naples Security Solutions.
A short time later, Knott and Perl were in Egypt in uncharted territory. The team mapped out a plan to rescue the family. There would be three attempts to pull the woman from her home. During the first two attempts, fear strangled her will to flee.
“Communicating back and forth, she came up with every reason she couldn’t do it, she was afraid,” said Knott.
On the third and final attempt, numbed by fear she opened the door.
“It was basically go time,” said Knott. “He reached in and picked up the 3-year-old.”
The woman stood frozen in fear as she glanced down the hallway.
“There was little movement on her part she was staring down the hallway. The mother-in-law woke up and was at the end of the hall staring at her so at that point we had to go,” said Knott. “At that point you just hear screams.”
In video captured during the rescue, you can hear screaming and yelling as they rushed out of the stairway. It would be quick thinking that helped them escape alive as they yelled out “fire, fire” as guards ran past them up the stairs holding automatic machine guns.
“We are in trouble” you can hear the woman say on video, but the men assured her she was fine “No we are not in trouble.”
The team improvised and went to “plan B” to escape alive out of Egypt. It would not be until the woman was on an airplane that freedom began to become a reality.
“We went wheels up and she was just elated, she was very emotional,” said Knott. “We talked to her family, we told them it was over, we were out and we just heard screams and cheers.”