Jersey girls trapped in Georgia

August 14, 2008 4:19:55 AM PDT
The crisis overseas is hitting close to home for a New Jersey family. Two young girls are trapped in Georgia right now. "I love you pumpkin. You alright," Joseph Evans asked his daughter over the phone.

Evans and his wife, Tea, struggle not to fall apart when they hear 7-year-old Ashley a world away in Georgia.

Ashley told them that she, her grandparents and her 3-year-old sister, Sophia, tried to leave the grandparents' farm today, but were met by Russian soldiers.

"They tried to leave and the Russian army turned them around. That's what she said," Joseph Evans said.

Their daughters are on their annual trip to their grandparents' farm in Chiatura. They are in harm's way after Russia invaded Georgia. The farm is five hours from the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi. In between is Gori, where fires and gun battles have raged.

Congressman Chris Smith is trying to help the family get their daughters home.

"What we are trying to do is threat assessment. What would it be like if they tried to make their way to Tbilisi," Smith said. "It's quite a ride and the grandparents would do it if the way was clear."

It is not the only rescue effort underway. The children's 28-year-old uncle is a former member of Georgia's army. He also lives in New Jersey, but he was trying to get back to his parents' farm to get to his nieces.

"He arranged for a pick up and a small team to head out and get picked up on the other side of Gori, then get out to the farm for my daughters," Evans said.

"There are mothers suffering over there, like me. I'm suffering terrible," an emotional Tea Evans said.

The U.S. Embassy has been in contact with the uncle. They are going to try to remain in contact with him as he tries to get the children out.

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STORY BY: Toni Yates

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