21 hours: 8 hostages – including children – ate TV dinners, followed orders

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For over 20 hours, four boys, two girls and two women were held hostage inside a home in Harvey yesterday.

Family members say that four of the kids inside the home were siblings, so were the other two and the six of them together were all cousins. One of the adults is the mother of four of them.

And while they were all released without injuries, there ordeal has left some scars.

They were allowed to eat TV dinners and use the microwave, but the hostages –the two adults -simply did what they were told to do by their captors. They knew it was likely their best chance at survival.

Thomas West’s 43-year-old aunt Mandy West was one of the adults in the home.

“She is stunned,” he said. “She looks like she is still a hostage right now. She just said it was the ugliest sight inside. All she did was fall in line and do as she was told.”

Mandy is a nurse and Thomas said, ”They allow her to nurse the kids, feed them and give them what they need but … she going through a lot. I really feel sorry for my auntie right now.”

Four of the children–all boys were released one by one before midnight. Dart says one was exchanged for cigarettes. The suspects at times demanded a car and even cigars.

Mandy West volunteered to get the children to safety as guns were pointed and tension was high. She was surrounded yesterday by armored trucks, law enforcement dressed in fatigues and bearing rifles among other things. Each time, she had to re-enter the house at 147th and Seeley not knowing if she would leave it alive.

“At one point she didn’t even care about living,” Thomas said. “It was all about the kids and making sure they was safe.”

The motive for the initial burglary in the home not clear yet but after periods of threats to kill all the children, then longer periods of calm, and later no movement after midnight with negotiations, Dart said it was time to take control.

All the children were evaluated at Ingalls Hospital and were released.

One suspect is from south suburbs the other  is from Chicago, both were violating parole.

There are no charges yet and no motive for targeting this house made known.

Related: Suspects in custody, 8 hostages okay in 21-hour hostage situation in Harvey


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