Bound, beaten and robbed: Backpackers attacked by whip-brandishing Peruvian villagers in 'savage' two day ordeal

New photo reveals injuries sustained by the three Americans

John Hall
Monday 04 February 2013 13:28 GMT
Jennifer Wolfrom
Jennifer Wolfrom (AP)

A new photo has emerged that reveals injuries sustained by members of a US family attacked while backpacking in Peru.

Jennifer Wolfrom, her brother Jed and her sister-in-law Meghan Doherty were hiking in a village close to the southern Peruvian city of Cuzco when they were attacked by around 30 angry villagers.

The group were reportedly bound, beaten and robbed by the villagers during a two-day ordeal, beginning on New Year’s Day, which left the group physically and mentally traumatised.

But Ms Wolfrom alleges that staff at the US embassy failed to help the family until media began covering their story.

Ms Wolfrom, who is now safe at her home in Wyoming, showed off the scars during an interview with the Jackson Hole News and Guide.

She told the publication: “Obviously we are all very upset by this and are unwilling to let the Peruvian police sweep this under the rug now that we are out of the country.”

She added: “We are doing what we can to ensure that this case does not get dropped. However the police in Ocongate [the district where the attack occurred] are not taking this seriously and seem to believe that the village’s alleged assumption that we were “cattle rustlers” justifies the violent attack that occurred.”

Ms Wolfrom says she believed the villagers intended to kill the trio during the savage attack.

She claims that at one point she heard them discussing how they could throw them off a cliff and make it look like a hiking accident.

Ms Wolfrom says that after the group escaped, she was shocked to discover that authorities in Cuzco’s US consulate seemed reluctant to help.

She claims that it was only after NBC News sent a camera team to interview the group, and Jed Wolfram appeared on the Today show, that they began to hear from US Congressmen.

“I was getting calls from senators, asking if I was OK,” she said.

Events leading to the attack began on December 29, when the three backpackers drove into the village for a single-night stopover.

Locals soon began rummaging through the groups’ bags and asking to see their papers, forcing the trio to flee the village.

The villagers set up roadblocks to prevent escape from the area, pelting the vehicle with stones - one of which smashed their windscreen and hit Ms Wolfrom in the jaw.

As they attempted to pass yet another roadblock, the car flipped over and the three were quickly captured.

They were whipped and beaten for days in the villagers’ custody and believe the only reason they were not killed is because their crashed vehicle was evidence that could not be disposed of.

The three were eventually released after promising to tell authorities that their injuries had been caused by drunk-driving.

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