SANTA MONICA—On February 18, Somali pirates kidnapped two Santa Monica locals. Jean and Scott Adam, members of St. Monica’s Catholic Church, along with two other Americans, were killed.
“As they responded to the gunfire and began boarding the Quest, U.S. sailors discovered that all four hostages had been shot by their captors,” said Vice Admiral Mike Fox, Commander U.S. Navy’s Fifth fleet, on the morning edition of NPR. “Despite immediate steps to provide immediate life-saving care, all four of the American hostages died of their wounds.”
Those taken were on the Adams’ yacht, a vessel called the S/V Quest, which has been docked periodically in Marina del Rey.
According to the Adams’ website, “The Quest was built in New Zealand and was sailed back to the United States in 2002 by Scott & Jean Adam and various crew. The 2002 trip left from Auckland, New Zealand and went to Alaska via Tahiti and Hawaii.”
The Adams were engaged abroad distributing bibles until their recent misfortune. The couple was distributing bibles to schools, parishes and churches throughout Central America, Asia and the Pacific Rim.
Phyllis Mackay and Robert A. Riggle from Seattle were also on board the Quest. Reportedly, the vessel was intercepted when en route to Djibouti to refuel, several hundred miles off the coast of Oman.
News of the kidnappings came by way of the UN mission in Somalia, relayed by the Associated Press (AP). The European Union also reported that some of its citizens had been held hostage after the Alfardous vessel and its eight crew members were hijacked in the Gulf of Aden. According to AP, Somali pirates control a multimillion dollar industry built around ransoms, and prior to the latest seizures, 29 vessels and 660 hostages were being held.
A captured Somali pirate involved in the hijacking of the Quest, known only as “Hassan,” spoke with AP on Wednesday, February 23. “We had plans to either take the hostages to the inland mountains or to move onto other hijacked ships because we knew that the U.S. Navy was serious about carrying out a rescue operation,” Hassan said. “The hostages pleaded with us not to harm them or take them to dangerous places. They cried when we captured them … and asked us to release them because they were too old and couldn’t endure captivity.”
Scott Sternberg, a personal friend of the Adams, spoke with Canyon News.”Mixed with my sadness at their loss and my warm memories of the few times I spent with them, are the haunting thoughts of what Scott and Jean probably experienced from the time their boat was boarded by the pirates to the moment they were killed,” Scott said. “I know they were people of deep faith and that their faith in God no doubt helped them cope during that horrendous time. But it must have been terrifying for them, and for their traveling companions, nonetheless.”
Sternberg scowled at media descriptions of the Adams as “Bible thumpers,” saying that the Adams “cared about other people and respected and enjoyed other cultures.”
Family friend Michael Malek Evans shared memories of the Adams on Facebook, stating: “Last night, I remembered when I had just made a bold, unpopular decision that affected several others, Scott (my professor at the time) enthusiastically praised me for standing up. Later, when I was sheepish about pursuing a career move, he kindly lashed out (and I paraphrase): ‘Michael, you can’t go through life in fear! I lived most of my life like that (offered examples), but I don’t want to live that way anymore. That’s not living.'”
As Evans noted, “It feels like an appropriate memory right now.”
A vigil was held in honor of the Adams. Funeral services are still being planned.