Meridian Star

October 13, 2012

Woman awaits trial date in Macedonia

By Terri Ferguson Smith / tsmith@themeridianstar.com
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —  A Meridian woman behind bars in a Macedonian jail cell is awaiting a trial date, having been detained on Sept. 28.

    Candi Dunlap, a nurse who was on a mission trip with fellow members of Fifteenth Avenue Baptist Church, was stopped at the Skopje, Macedonia airport and charged with attempting to smuggle priceless artifacts out of the country. She was on her way home when she was stopped at the airport.

    A Facebook post said she was stopped while going through customs and questioned about several coins that had been given to her, unaware that they had historical value. A post that went online Thursday said that her husband Marc had found an attorney who was to meet with officials on Monday in hopes of getting a trial date set.

    The U.S. State Department said it has a limited role in such cases.

    "We are monitoring her case very closely," a spokesperson for the State Department said on Friday. "We continue to be in contact with the Macedonian authorities."

    He said embassy officials in Skopje have visited with Dunlap several times, most recently on Friday to make sure she is being treated fairly and has access to medical treatment if necessary.

    U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper, who represents Mississippi's Third Congressional District, is doing what he can to help.

    "Our office has been actively involved in it from day one," said Adam Buckalew, communications director for Harper's office. "The congressman has been in constant contact with federal agencies working to bring her back home."

    A fund to help pay for expenses related to the situation has been set up at Citizens National Bank in Meridian. T-shirts are on sale as well. To order, go to Prayers for Candi on Facebook.