Missing Indiana priest's sister says he's left Greece
A missing priest from Indiana is safe, but many questions about where he's been remain unanswered.
Family members say Father Christiaan Kappes disappeared last week in Greece. A massive effort to find him included the U.S. State Department.
Last Monday, Kappes left the U.S. Embassy in Greece and offered what his family feared was a final goodbye.
"He said to my dad that, 'if I leave the U.S. Embassy, then they'll never see me again. I love you, you've been a great dad and thank you for everything'," said Kappes' sister, Nadia Kappes Charcap.
Now, a week after his strange disappearance, his family says the priest and his Greek interpreter are both safe. It's an answer to prayers offered up last Thursday at the Holy Name Catholic Church in Beech Grove.
By phone, Kappes' mother, Jenny, told Eyewitness News about a phone call the family received Monday morning.
"I spoke with him directly and there's no doubt that it was him," she said.
She says her son told her, "I'm fine, I'm fine. I just needed to call you to let you know we're safe and out of Greece."
"That's wonderful. That's awesome, because I can't imagine being in that position having a family member gone," said Franklin resident Cindy Boyd.
As news trickled out in the Kappes' hometown, the family grew silent. A week ago, his sister expressed concern about individuals questioning Father Kappes' story, starting with the U.S. State Department.
"He did not request himself safe haven. While discussing options about his safety, Mr. Kappes himself got up and departed the Embassy," said a spokesperson with the State Department.
"I fear that as stories like this go, somebody's going to want to smear his name and make him look terrible and do something that is not true, not true to his character," said Charcap.
Father Kappes is from Franklin and this is where his family hopes he will soon return, to face many unanswered questions.
"You just only hope that, being in the position that he's in, that it is the truth and he's found a way to be safe. You hope it's not a hoax, there's too much of that going on right now," said Boyd.
The U.S. State Department, the FBI and Greek authorities were all asked to investigate the disappearance of Father Kappes.
The U.S. State Department is still investigating. Monday afternoon, they confirmed to Eyewitness News that Father Kappes had been in touch with his family, but did not provide further details.
"The Archdiocese of Indianapolis was elated to learn from Father Christiaan Kappes' family that Father Kappes is alive and safe. We are hopeful that he soon will be returning to the United States. We thank everyone for their prayers and support for Father Kappes and ask that people continue to pray for his safe return to Indiana. We also would like to thank the Vatican and all the authorities who have been searching for Father Kappes."