SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Kimberly Endicott, a Costa Mesa resident who was kidnapped for ransom last week in Uganda, has been released along with her safari guide.
Mike Collins, who lives just across the street from Phyllis Endicott, was shocked when Endicott's stepdaughter Kimberly was taken hostage at gunpoint for ransom while visiting Uganda.
"I read about it last week in the news. I was saddened to hear that," Collins said.
Several armed gunmen attacked Kimberly along with her tour guide last week while they were on safari.
The kidnappers demanded half a million dollars in ransom. They were released after it was paid on Sunday.
While Collins has been following the story closely, he said he wasn't fully aware that his neighbor was Kimberly's mother until now.
“When I heard her daughter had been released and unharmed that was amazing. I didn't know Phyllis was the mother of the lady taken hostage. But praise God that she was able to be returned safely,” Collins said.
As a father, he can't imagine what Kimberly's stepmother must have experienced.
“Having two kids like I do, I wouldn't know what to do with myself if something happened like that,” Collins said.
Collins, who has been living in the quiet neighborhood on Santa Rosa Street for about a year said every time Phyllis is outside she greets him with a bright smile.
Collins said he looks forward to Kimberly's safe return home to her family and letting Phyllis know how happy his family is for her.