Search Intensifies for American Woman Kidnapped at Gunpoint in Uganda

Kimberly Sue Endicott, of Costa Mesa, California, was on a "dream" vacation, friends said.

Searchers have intensified their efforts to find an American woman kidnapped at gunpoint while on safari in Africa, with "hard negotiations" taking place, CBS News reported.

Kimberly Sue Endicott, of Costa Mesa, California, and her tour driver Jean-Paul Mirgene Remezo, were taken by four gunmen earlier this week. The abduction occurred in Uganda's Queen Elizabeth National Park, a popular tourist site for safari goers.

The kidnappers used Endicott's cellphone to issue a $500,000 ransom demand. Endicott, who is a skin care specialist, was on a "dream" vacation, her friends said.

"The joint security teams have cut off all exit areas on the border between Uganda and the DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo) in search for the victims, especially because the park is at the border," said police spokeswoman Polly Namaye.

An elderly couple on the safari was left behind, authorities said, by kidnappers who also took the vehicle's keys, stranding the couple in the vast wilderness of the park.

The northern section of the preserve remains open, but U.S. travelers have been warned to take caution in the area. Safari cancellations are pouring in, according to tourism operators.