Missing Prairie Grove woman sends message to family from Haiti

It was Michael Kivland who first read the U.S. Embassy e-mail about his sister Chelsey, who has been missing in Haiti.

“My son just ran down the hall and started screaming, “She’s alive!” said Chelsey’s dad, Mike Kivland.

The Prairie Grove family received the short message about 8 p.m. Thursday. It read simply, “The following is a message from the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti: Chelsey Kivland wishes to tell you that: I am OK, please contact everyone.”

“We were more than relieved, we were overjoyed,” her dad said. “We had spent the last two and a half days just waiting for any kind of word. Just any kind of message.”

Chelsey Kivland, a Crystal Lake Central High School graduate, had been living in Port-au-Prince, about 10 miles east of where the 7.0-magnitude earthquake was centered.

She is working on her doctoral dissertation in anthropology at the University of Chicago and has been in Haiti for about two years.

The family kept vigil with loved ones while they waited for news after the earthquake.

“I would wish this on no one,” Mike Kivland said. “We went through two days of waiting to hear news like that and ... that was just very trying and taxing on all of us.

The family also has learned that Chelsey’s roommate is alive and will be evacuated to Miami.

Images of the disaster have flooded the news, but family members found much of the reporting too hard to stomach.

“Some of it has been ... too graphic,” her dad said. “We did watch just to make sure that we knew what was going on and to see if we could see her in the background, or get any kind of clue as to her whereabouts.”

Now, Mike’s eager to talk to his daughter.

“I can’t wait,” he said. “We all want to hear her voice again, and when that happens, I think we’ll be able to put some closure on this whole event.”

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