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FBI offers $1 million reward to find Taliban kidnappers of Pennsylvania mom Caitlan Coleman

12 May 2020 Daily Mail Online

The U.S. government is offering a $1 million reward for information that leads to the capture of the Taliban militants who are believed to have kidnapped and held Caitlan Coleman and her three children who were subsequently born during her five years in captivity.

The FBI posted a 'seeking information' notice online on Tuesday offering the cash to anyone with credible information on those who abducted the Pennsylvania woman and her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle in Afghanistan in October 2012.

It's not clear why the FBI is offering the reward now. The pair were held in Pakistan until 2017. 

The FBI is offering $1 million for information leading to the capture of the Taliban militants who kidnapped and held Caitlan Coleman and her three children

The FBI is offering a $1 million reward to find the Taliban kidnappers of Pennsylvania mom Caitlan Coleman and her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle, right,  in Afghanistan in October 2012

In captivity, the pair made videos with two of their three children that were born while hostage

'I'm certainly happy to hear they're taking this step and hopeful that it will make justice possible,' Caitlan Coleman told ABC News.      

Coleman, who is from Stewartstown in rural Pennsylvania, said that the FBI had contemplated offering a reward for some time but did not know of the reason to issue one now.   

In a statement, the FBI promised justice for Coleman but did not elaborate on the timing. 

'Years after the Coleman family returned home, dedicated FBI special agents and analysts are still actively working to identify the family's captors. Our pursuit of justice does not end, but we also need the public's help to identify those responsible for the family's five years of captivity,' said Timothy R. Slater, assistant director in charge of the FBI's Washington Field Office.  


Boyle, Coleman, and their three children were freed from captivity in Afghanistan, where they were held hostage by a group linked to the Taliban. The family are seen with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after their release in October 2017

The offering of a such a high-priced rewards also demonstrates the U.S. government essentially believes that Coleman became a hostage against her will.

There had been questions over her now-estranged husband's sympathies for Islamic extremists.

Last year, during an interview with ABC Nightline she told how Boyle, a Canadian, was abusive and had wanted to meet Taliban commanders because he was a sympathizer but they ended up as prisoners instead.  

'For the perspective of people who may still have questions of whether our five years in captivity was 'voluntary,' this certainly does clear that up. The U.S. government wouldn't offer a million dollars to catch our kidnappers if they thought otherwise,' Coleman said on Tuesday. 

In the past, Coleman has said she was sexually assaulted on one occasion by Taliban guards but also alleged that he husband, Boyle, abused her physically and psychologically throughout their five-year ordeal. 

The couple was rescued in Pakistan near the Afghan border in October 2017

The couple appeared in several hostage videos during their time in captivity. One is shown above

He denied such accusations during a trial in 2019 and was acquitted of assaulting his wife after the couple had returned to Canada in 2017.

'Not only was it psychological, it was physical, it was sexual,' Coleman said to ABC last year. 'I was actually more afraid of him (Boyle) than of the captors.'

Just three months after the pair returned to Canada, Boyle was arrested by police in Ottawa and charged with more than a dozen offenses involving physical abuse of Coleman and one of their children. 

Boyle was acquitted last December despite his wife testifying against him for days.  

She revealed that during the time the couple were in captivity, the couple were sometimes living apart from one another. 

Intelligence officials also revealed how Boyle was a misguided Taliban sympathizer but that Coleman wanted to go home and showed no affection for their captors. 

'He would always tell me, "I think they're misrepresented in the West. I think they're good people. When you meet them, you're gonna see,"' Coleman said during an interview in 2019. 'So I saw. And they are, with the exception of my husband, the worst people that I've ever known in my life.'

In the 2012, the pair went on what she thought would be a trip to Asia when he suggested they 'dip into' Afghanistan. She was six months pregnant at the time

From captivity to freedom: A timeline

Canadian Joshua Boyle, his American wife Caitlan Coleman and their three young children were held captive for five years after the couple disappeared in Afghanistan.

2011 – Joshua Boyle and Caitlan Coleman marry during a lengthy trip to South America.

July 2012 – Boyle and Coleman travel to Russia. They later move on to Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and finally to Afghanistan over the course of several months.

October 8, 2012 – Caitlan Coleman's father hears from Boyle for the last time before the couple is captured. Boyle said he was in an Internet cafe in what he described as an 'unsafe' part of Afghanistan. The last withdrawals from the couple's bank account were made Octover 8 and 9 in Kabul. An Afghan official later said the couple had been abducted in Wardak Province, a rugged, mountainous Taliban haven.

Late 2012 or early 2013 – Coleman's first child is born. Coleman was pregnant at the time of her capture, and her due date was in December 2012.

June 4, 2014 – Coleman's family releases two videos of Coleman and Boyle in captivity, saying the clips were provided to the family in 2013. Boyle and Coleman are seen calling on the U.S. government to free them and their child from Taliban captors.

November 2015 – Coleman's family receives a letter from Coleman in which she says she has given birth to a second child in captivity.

August 30, 2016 – A video of Coleman and Boyle is posted on YouTube. In it, Boyle says their captors will kill them and their children 'if the policies of the Afghan government are not overturned, either by the Afghan government or by Canada, somehow, or the United States.' A Taliban official says the video was recorded in 2015.

December 2016 – Another video is posted online, this time featuring Coleman, Boyle and their two young children. Coleman urges governments on all sides to secure the family's freedom.

October 12, 2017 – U.S. officials say Pakistan secured the family's release. According to officials, Coleman had a third child while in captivity. In a press release, the Pakistani military says Boyle and Coleman will be 'repatriated to the country of their origin.'

October 13 – The family arrives back in Canada.

October 14 – Boyle demands his kidnappers be brought to justice for the 'murder' of his infant daughter and the rape of his wife while they were in captivity.

October 15 – A Taliban spokesman calls Boyle's allegations 'false and propaganda.' 

October 16 – Boyle says he and his wife decided to have children while held captive because they always planned to have a big family and decided, 'Hey, let's make the best of this and at least go home with a larger start on our dream family.'

October 17 – Coleman is rushed to the hospital in Smith Falls, Ontario, but Boyle does not specify why she is taken there.

November 20 – Caitlan Boyle tells ABC News how she and her husband did the best they could to raise young children in brutal conditions, using bottle caps and cardboard as toys and teaching their eldest son geography and astronomy.

December 19 – Tweets show Boyle, Coleman and their children privately meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his office on Parliament Hill. Trudeau's office says the family requested the meeting.

December 30 – Boyle dials 911, telling a dispatcher that Coleman ran screaming from their Ottawa apartment, threatening to kill herself. The call triggers an investigation.

December 31 – Boyle is arrested in Ottawa and charged with various offenses, including assault, sexual assault, and unlawful confinement. A publication ban prevents either of the two alleged victims from being publicly identified.

January 9, 2018 – Trudeau suggests in a radio interview that security officials raised no red flags before the prime minister met with the family.

January 26 – Boyle's lawyer, Lawrence Greenspon, tells court a doctor found Boyle fit to stand trial, but recommends a detailed psychiatric assessment. The confidential assessment is completed in the spring.

June 1 – Boyle is released from jail with strict bail conditions that include an electronic tracking bracelet.

June 23, 2018 - Coleman has had temporary sole custody of the three children. She relocated to Pennsylvania by mid-summer with the kids. Boyle tried to prevent that move, but his request was denied by the court 

March 25, 2019 – Boyle's assault trial begins. A publication ban is partially lifted after Coleman agreed to be identified as the alleged victim in relation to a majority of the charges.  

During testimony, Coleman outlined alleged physical and sexual abuse in her relationship with Boyle to which his lawyers refuted the allegations in court. 

October 2019 - The trial concluded. 

December 18 - Boyle was cleared of all charges. The judge commented that there was a lack of credibility on both sides and that there was limited evidence to prove criminal offenses had occurred. Boyle's lawyer told the news media he now take steps to gain access to the children and that his long-term goal was custody.

May 12, 2020 - FBI offers $1 million reward for information leading to former Taliban hostage's captors. 

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