‘I thought my brother was dead’: Pittsburgh man robbed, kidnapped while visiting Colombia

PITTSBURGH — It was a terrifying 48 hours for a family from Pittsburgh. Their loved one was kidnapped and robbed while visiting Colombia. His family says he had visited Colombia several times before, and even worked in Colombia at one point, and was visiting his girlfriend at the time of the crimes.

The sister of Twandale Robinson, Dawnyce Robinson says on Saturday, their mom got a strange message on a cash app around 3 a.m. Colombian time.

“Within about 10 minutes, the location on his phone was turned off,” Robinson said. “We all have locations on our phone for safety of course. Immediately, people were trying to charge his cards, he’s not answering, they changed his PayPal. One of his emails was recovered and accessed.”

The entire family was aware of the State Department’s security alerts due to crime, terrorism, unrest and kidnapping.

The State Department even issued a Level 3 warning for folks to reconsider travel. When 24 hours went by with no contact from Robinson or his girlfriend, his family called the U.S. Embassy in Colombia. Then 48 hours went by, and they were starting to lose hope.

“In my mind, I thought my brother was dead,” Dawnyce Robinson added.

On Monday, Robinson and his girlfriend were able to safely get to the U.S. Embassy in Colombia where he FaceTimed with his family.

“He has a large gash above his forehead, his lip is swollen, and he has bruising on his face,” Dawnyce Robinson said. “I can’t see his body. He looks terrified, he can’t even talk.”

Robinson was on a flight Monday afternoon and he’ll be back in Las Vegas, where he is currently a student, by noon on Tuesday.

His family wants to share this warning:

“All of Colombia is dangerous,” Dawnyce Robinson said. “Right now, to me, Americans are targets. I would hate for anybody else’s son or daughter to be put in the situation he was in, to where your family doesn’t know if you’re dead or alive and you’re coming home traumatized and beaten and bruised.”

For more on the security alerts issued for Colombia, click here.

Download the FREE WPXI News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Channel 11 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch WPXI NOW