What was supposed to be "the trip of a lifetime" turned into a nightmarish case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Dr. Stacey Addison, 41, is a veterinarian from Portland, Ore. She left the United States in September for a solo trek across Asia.
While in the newly-formed South East Asian nation of Timor, she shared a cab with a stranger also headed to the capital city of Dili. The passenger picked up a package that allegedly contained methamphetamine. The local police immediately moved in and arrested everyone in the car, including Addison.
After five days in jail, she was released after her urine test came back negative for drugs and authorities found her computer records were clean. She was granted “conditional release,” meaning she could travel freely throughout East Timor but could not get her passport back. Despite efforts from her friends and family in the U.S., it seems likely that Addison will remain in Timor for some time. The country, which was recognized as an independent nation in 2002, has an evolving legal system.
After Addison’s lawyer told her their appeal to retrieve her passport was denied, she went to the courthouse to get a copy of the denied petition. While there, she learned a warrant was out for her arrest, and authorities immediately took her into custody.
No charges have been made public, and Addison is now at Gleno women’s prison, an hour away from the city of Dili. She shares a cell with several other women, including one who just gave birth and has the baby with her.
Prior to her second arrest, she posted on Facebook: “I am trying to keep busy and keep the anxiety at bay, but the uncertainty is always there in the back of my mind — gnawing away at any attempt at peace of mind.” She continued, “This isn’t how I had imagined I would be spending my time during the trip of a lifetime. I hope it is all over soon.”
While several members of Congress have been trying to free Addison, the process is slow-going. Her family continues to anxiously await any news of their daughter’s fate.
“It’s been nightmare, all this uncertainty, and especially now with this latest development,” said Bernadette Kero, Addison’s mother. “I just want our government to do all they can so that my daughter, an innocent American citizen, is freed.”
Sources: New York Post (Image via Fox News)