JANUARY 13TH UPDATE:
First off, thank you to everyone who has taken the time to help support Shawn. We cannot emphasize how much this means to his family and friends. It's been an absolute whirlwind of emotions and stress and knowing that this many people care adds some light to this dark cloud looming above our heads.
Up until this point we have had very limited information regarding Shawn's case. In everyone's panicked states the lack of transparency about information lead us to jump between multiple worse case scenarios. Transparency of information is something we all wished we had from the beginning and I think all of us have come to value it to an unimaginable depth. We are getting to almost a week since we got the initial phone call and unfortunately we still do not have too much information. However, this update will consist of what we do know thus far!
- Shawn calls friends and family says he is being kept in a basement with people that look like cops and is asking for $3000 in 3 hours or he is going to jail.
- Out of fear, family agrees to pay this sum--at this point, price is increased to $5000.
- Family agrees to pay this sum, but unaware of the fact that they were on speaker phone mentions to Shawn that they are in contact with the embassy and the police -- Shawn's captors (later found out to be "legitimate" police) get angry, refuse the sum and state that Shawn will be held for 48 hours with no communication and then will be put in front of a judge.
- In this period of 48 hours-- friends and family are contacting legal authorities and officials.
- We eventually get into contact with a consult in the Thai embassy.
-Shawn is found! It took this long to find him because during this entire course he was not registered in any of the prisons--which is something that should have been done immeditely upon arrest (or long before they called us for money).
- We still were not relayed what Shawn's official charge was.
- The embassy informed us that the police told them the money they asked us was for bail (however, if anyone knows how bail works it is pretty unlikely that bail increases if you don't pay it within 3 hours. Also, pretty sure it cannot be asked without proper registration into the legal system).
- We became seriously concerned about the credibility of the police and the information they were relaying to the embassy. At this point we still had no one on one communication with Shawn, or even any proper idea of his charges.
- The embassy informs us that Shawn was sent a representative that was not a lawyer.
- His sister receives information from an interview with Shawn that clarified a few aspects of this case.
- Shawn is being held in a correctional facility.
- He is safe.
- He is deciding to plead guilty for the distribution of marijuana.
- He does not have a lawyer.
We still have not had the chance to speak to him personally and we know that he does not have proper legal representation. Therefore, we are still in the dark about all the events that have transpired to lead him to this decision.
Regardless of Shawn's decision to plead guilty, he did state in his interview that he wishes to pursue a case against the police for violation of his rights. There are still a lot of unanswered questions and the truth is still unclear. However, the one thing that has been absolutely clear from the beginning is that Shawn's rights as a human are being violated, and that there is definite corruption in the legal system he is being held in.
We are very sorry that information has been so hard to come by but we are trying to update everyone as much as we can, as fast as we can. The funds collected from this gofundme will be deposited into Shawn's sister's account (Kaelyn) as all the payments for the lawyer are going through her account. All the funds will still be used for legal fees, especially to pursue the human rights violation.
Hi guys! With the help of the Thai-Canadian Embassy, we have been able to locate Shawn. He is being held at a police station in Bangkok that literally - on its GOOGLE MAPS reviews - has multiple people from other countries who were tourists there saying that the 'police' at this station are known for working with night club owners in the area to set up foreigners to scam their families out of money.
Shawn's sister is currently working tirelessly to find him a lawyer before his 48 hours of holding are up - she needs to find him a lawyer in Bangkok in the next FOUR HOURS. This is extremely important because if Shawn doesn't have proper legal representation, they could have him imprisoned for a very long time (they have very different legislation to North America in that part of the world, guys!!), have to pay a huge fine, or both. We just want to get him home. We want to do everything we can to keep years of his incredibly promising life from being stolen by a foreign legal system that has been highly manipulative, dishonest and unjust.
This is a huge financial burden to come out of the blue for Shawn's family to take on. They are hoping that the legal fees will not exceed $7,000CAD, but that is what has been quoted. If you are able to contribute even a small amount - the cost of a coffee, even - we would be so appreciative. Thank you to everyone who has shared this page - please continue to help us spread this so as many people as possible can see it.
- Jacob Koethler
- Liz Nelson
- Carlee Knight
Organizer and beneficiary
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