Local North Korea detainee reunites with family

Local North Korea detainee reunites with family
Jeffrey Fowle was released from N.Korean custody Tuesday. (File photo)
Jeffrey Fowle was released from N.Korean custody Tuesday. (File photo)

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - A local man detained in North Korea was reunited with his family Wednesday morning, nearly six months after he was taken into custody.

A U.S. Government plane delivered Jeffrey Fowle to Dayton's Wright Patterson Air Force Base just before 7 a.m. where his three children and wife ran to greet him with open arms.

Tatyana Fowle received news of her husband's release on Tuesday, but the children were not aware of the homecoming until Fowle stepped off the plane.

"They kept it as a surprise so that's really the reaction of the children when they saw dad coming out of the ramp. They were extremely, extremely happy to see their dad," said Devillier.

Fowle, of Miamisburg, arrived in North Korea on April 29 and was arrested in May for leaving a bible at a nightclub, a charge North Korean officials said violated the law by acting “contrary to the purpose of tourism.”

An Air Force plane flew Fowle, 56, out of North Korea on Tuesday and to Guam before heading to Ohio. While there is no indication what led to North Korea's decision to free Fowle, the Swedish government assisted in facilitating the release along with former Ohio congressman Tony Hall.

"The family would like to thank the U.S. State Department, the embassy of Sweden, former Ambassador Tony Hall, and many others," Timothy Tepe, Fowle's attorney, said on Wednesday.

The City of Moraine, where Fowle worked, officially terminated his employment in August due to his absence, but Mayor Elaine Allison announced on Wednesday that he is welcome back to work when he is ready.

Two other Americans, Kenneth Bae and Matthew Todd Miller, are still being held in the country. Government officials said in a press conference on Tuesday that the White House remains focused on securing their release.

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