Caitlan Coleman breaks her silence, says fond memories of Pa. home helped during Taliban hostage ordeal

Ten days after her rescue from Taliban-linked militants, Caitlan Coleman has issued her first public statement in a series of emails.

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In a correspondence with the York Daily Record, she documented her fond childhood memories and challenges adapting to her new life.

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Caitlan Coleman, of Stewartstown, and Canadian Joshua Boyle were kidnapped by the Taliban in 2012 while they were traveling as tourists in Afghanistan.
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A handout photo provided by the Coleman family shows Caitlan Coleman and Joshua Boyle.(Photo: Courtesy of Coleman family)

Ten days after her rescue from Taliban-linked militants, Caitlan Coleman has issued her first public statement in a series of emails to the York Daily Record. The correspondence documented her fond childhood memories and challenges adapting to her new life. 

Among her memories: Begging her father to take her to local firemen’s carnivals. Ice cream. Hiking in southern York County’s Nixon County Park. 

Opinion: White roses to the return of Caitlan Coleman (editorial)

Background: Former hostage says Caitlan Coleman was rushed to hospital

“So much of my childhood and even 20s were spent in York county, it has shaped me, and my fond memories helped to brighten some of the dark days,” Coleman wrote in an email Saturday. 

The email was attributed to the “Boyle Family,” and followed an email exchange initiated by Joshua Boyle, Caitlan’s Canadian husband. 

An email correspondence from Boyle said that he believed Coleman would enjoy speaking on memories of home.

Recent media stories have stated that Coleman has yet to speak out herself.

After their release, Coleman, Boyle and their children flew to Canada where Boyle is from.  

Boyle has made several public statements since then, including graphic details of their ordeal in captivity.   

But the couple was clear in their correspondence: Coleman was not ready to speak on such matters. Or provide details on her recent hospitalization — other than to say: “I hope to be discharged soon and that the Canadian medical system is doing a pretty good job taking care of me.” 

She likened some interactions with the media to prison. She said attention has led to scrutiny, negativity and pressure to speak publicly before she was comfortable.  

“Why don’t I have the right to just be myself and be with my husband and children?” she wrote. 

 

“Everybody says ‘No, you have to come out and talk about it’, but no, no I don’t and everybody nice has said it’s my choice and I can talk when I want, and to whom I want,” Coleman wrote. 

On Saturday, Coleman wanted to write about York County, where she spent most of her childhood and early 20s. She says she was homeschooled and graduated with a diploma issued by the Pennsylvania Homeschoolers Accreditation Agency in 2004. 

“Good friends and great times are not forgotten, even now,” Coleman wrote.   

Jim Coleman, Caitlan’s father, said in an interview Saturday from his home in Stewartstown that it’s a “blessing” to have his daughter out of captivity. He said his wife, Lyn, was able to visit Caitlan in Canada recently. 

He gave credit to President Trump for his daughter’s release as well as to the Obama administration for aiding and working on getting his daughter and her family freed over the last several years. 

While the family is moving forward, Jim Coleman shares many of the same memories Caitlan has of York County. The family moved from Florida to Shrewsbury when Caitlan was 3, and then to Stewartstown when she was 8. 

He recalled Caitlan wanting to go to all three carnivals nearby in southern York County– New Freedom, Shrewsbury and Stewartstown. 

“She always wanted me to win a bear,” Coleman said. 

More: What we know about central Pa.’s Caitlan Coleman, who was released by Taliban-linked group

In Stewartstown, the father-daughter pair would go sledding in the winters on a hillside formed by a ravine on the neighbor’s property. A thaw and re-freeze would cause a frozen pond to form at the bottom of the hill, and they had to stop themselves on the ice before going into the woods. 

Whether Caitlan or her own family will return to York County in the near future or for a longer period of time appears to be up in the air. 

“Right now it’s too soon to know what long-term plans will be,” Caitlan Coleman wrote in an email. “But if we do find ourselves in York, I can’t wait to share with my children some of the beautiful experiences I had there.”