Family worries about local sailing couple held in Nicaragua

SEATTLE -- A dream of a lifetime has taken a scary turn for a local couple.

Their adventure on the high seas has landed them in Nicaragua, and no one is sure when they'll be able to leave.

The Mount Vernon couple was sailing from Hondorus to Costa Rica when their adventure got derailed, and the family is desperate to find out what's going on. Dave and Leiann Scee are being held in Nicaragua, and they told their daughter they may have to "buy their way out."

"I'm just trying to keep myself calm. Maybe it was all a big misunderstanding," said Danielle Blagdon, Dave's daughter and Leiann's stepdaughter.

The Scees should be under sail on their way to Costa Rica, but in a hurried phone call Monday to her sister, Danielle learned they're being held in Nicaragua against their will.

"My dad said they were being treated poorly over there that they weren't being nice to them," she said.

The phone call was abrupt, and Danielle's family has no idea who's holding them or why. Dave Scee told his daugther they'd been stripped of their belonging and they need money.

"They might have to buy their way out," Danielle said. "It doesn't sound right. When people come here we don't make them buy their way out."

Danielle said she has no way to call her dad. They usually arrange phone calls using Facebook, but all her Facebook messages have gone unanswered. The State Department is aware of the situation, but for privacy reasons officials can not say more.

Danielle says the US Embassy in Nicaragua has reached out.

"She asked why this was happening, and he didn't give her an answer he said he couldn't say," she said.

The couple's friends are also worried.

"We're helpless. We're all helpless. We would do anything to help them, but we don't even know what to do," said Jeri Hubbard, a longtime family friend.

Hubbard's been scouring social media and the couple's sailing blog for answers.

"That was the last blog that was put on here," she said, pointing to the couple's October 24 blog entry.

Hubbard admits she vicariously lives though their adventure, but she said every time they leave she worries about their safety.

"Keep their stuff. It's just stuff," she said. "Just let them come home. Let them come home, that's all."

The family does plan to put money in the couple's bank account, hoping that will get them out of Nicaragua and back on course.

Danielle is also working with the US Embassy in Nicaragua.