Mirtle said the armed men who surrounded them in three white vehicles chided them and called them Americans, even though they said they were Canadians simply on vacation.
Moments earlier Andrew Mirtle had been forced into the front seat of a Toyota Rav 4 and spirited away by one of the gunmen who had forced them to stop along a beachfront highway in Panama.
They rented the cheapest car possible, had no jewelry, were travelling with only a few hundred dollars and weren't flashing around any credit cards. Accommodations were on the cheap and saving air miles helped them get there.
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"Instead they dragged me across the road and threw me down a ditch about 12 feet deep," she shakily recalled during an interview. "I grabbed some vines and was climbing back up when I thought they might shoot me, so I just peeked over the edge and they were gone."
However, not a bottle of water, speck of food, or access to a clean bathroom was offered as they sat barefoot, muddy and still trembling in fear. And this was after countless guffaws and sessions of laughter they encountered while in police custody a week ago Friday.
The thieves took their travelling money and their cellphones but didn't touch their Ipads or wedding rings.
Instead, the kidnapper stopped and ordered him to get out and run down a Adidas Prophere Undefeated Price
"There's crime everywhere, even in Canada,'' said Bears. "But they had targeted us for some reason."
The couple said they loved the country and the people, but when a police force is so unconcerned about its citizens, let alone visitors, something is wrong.
Cardigan couple recounts being robbed and abducted at gunpoint in Panama
They are telling their story only to warn other travellers and raise awareness. They have lodged a complaint through their MP with the federal government.
The couple are not rookies when it comes to travelling and did their research on Panama. They couldn't find any red flags or cautionary advisories: even on the Canadian foreign travel websites.
surrounded by thieves on a major highway, held at gunpoint, robbed of only certain belongings and abducted with the fear of death hovering over their heads? Wrong place, wrong time?
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Bears and Mirtle are now home nestled in their Cardigan abode with their two Jack Russell terriers trying to put the incident behind them. An incident that was totally alien to their expectations of the country and even more excruciating because of the disgraceful treatment they say they received at the hands of the Panamanian police.
side road. He did trembling all the way and when he turned around to look the abductor had driven away.
"We went with a complete positive attitude about the place and found the people lovely and the countryside beautiful,'' said Bears, who operates her own acupuncture clinic.
"I don't speak Spanish and trying to convey what happened was difficult, but someone finally stopped to help and involve the police."
The Cardigan couple say the police demanded they sign documents they couldn't read or understand and only when they got angry and told police they would go to the "newspapers" did they get a reaction. They were quickly dispatched to the airport before it even opened (they had electronic tickets and their passports) and left to wait dirty and exhausted.
"I thought I was going to be a dead man,'' said the soft spoken Mirtle. "But my only concern was for Natalie."
And so ended the trip to the sunny south just a week ago to enjoy a little sun and surf after a few years of saving and planning.
But so was Mirtle and Bears spent endless amounts of time trying to flag down help from the few passing cars.
"They just called us Americanos and tried to scare us to death,'' said Mirtle, a reflexologist.
"We were thinking it might be a nice place to retire for part of the year one day,'' said Bears. "Not now."
"I knew I couldn't do anything against a bunch of people with guns, but if it was going to come down to just the one driver and me, I would fight for my life."
Meanwhile Mirtle was being driven away down the highway with a gun to his head and convincing himself that he was not going to go quietly.
Mirtle had been struck on the head and neck a number of times by the bandidoes that had surrounded their rental car and dragged them out onto the pavement only moments before.
When they were accosted and dragged from the rental car, Bears said she did fear death when the men went to the trunk of the car and pulled everything out. She thought she would be pushed inside and likely killed.
"I was more afraid for him,'' said Bears holding back tears while safely cuddling her terrier at home here this week. "I didn't know what they would do to him."
But possibly the worst memory to bring home they say is the lack of care or help extended by the police. When a translator at the police station finally figured out their plight, officers were grabbing guns and out the door to chase down the hombres.
"The whole experience is unreal,'' said Bears, the daughter of Dan and Nike Vapormax Unlaced Doreen Bears who operated Cruise Manada for years on the Montague waterfront. "I remember at one point thinking I was out of my body and watching what was happening to us as if I was in a movie."
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