Ore. couple stabbed, beaten in Ecuador




Posted on August 15, 2009 at 1:36 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 25 at 10:27 AM

EMERALDAS, Ecuador -- Beaten and stabbed in a foreign country, a Bend man and his fiance were expected to return to the United States on Tuesday.

According to family members, Britt Leis and Leah Koehn sold all their belongings for a year-long trip to Ecuador during their engagement.

But last week as they were traveling, a group attacked them as they walked on the beach in the small South American coastal community of Emeraldas, Ecuador.

The suspects stabbed Britt 18 times and brutally beat, Leah then left. Leah ran for help. Britt was eventually transported to a hospital in the capitol city of Quito where he underwent a 12-hour surgery and was fighting infection.

The next step is for Britt and Leah to fly from Ecuador to California Tuesday so Britt can resume treatment closer to home. The flight could cost around $55,000 but they family said they will worry about the money matters later.

"We've been told that there is a window of stability of Britt's health at this point and they are very much interested in ensuring that he can survive the flight," said Shawn Leis, Britt's step-mother.

Britt's father, Ronald Leis read a short email from Leah. "Been an incident in Ecuador. Brit is seriously injured. Have him in a medical facility, will send more later."

According to the U.S. State Department website, at least 10 Americans have been kidnapped near the Ecuador Columbia border since 1998.

No word yet on any arrests or suspects.