Local North Korea detainee speaks to the media for the first tim - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Local North Korea detainee speaks to the media for the first time since returning home

A Miamisburg man who was detained in North Korea spoke to the media for the first time since returning back to the United States (Photo: FOX19) A Miamisburg man who was detained in North Korea spoke to the media for the first time since returning back to the United States (Photo: FOX19)
MIAMISBURG, OH (FOX19) -

A Miamisburg man who was detained in North Korea spoke to the media for the first time since returning back to the United States.

Jeffery Fowle, 56, says at one point he thought he would be held in North Korean for up to 15 years.

An Air Force plane flew Fowle out of North Korea on Oct. 21 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.

He says thankful to be back, but looking back he says he feels naive.

Fowle arrived in North Korea on April 29 for what was orginallyoriginallyon, but 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.”

Fowle spent 3 1/2 weeks in a hotel and says it was the worst, because he didn't have any contact with the outside world.

After that, Fowle says he was moved to more of a jail were he wrote letters to his family, ate plentiful meals of rice and meat, and says he was treated fine.  But he apologizes for his actions.

"I put my family at risk, I put my own safety at risk, jeopardizing my own career, what's left of my career, home. Everything was put on the line. Government expenses that didn't need to be incurred. There's all kinds of criticism and valid questions raised. All I can say is at the time I did what I felt I needed to do"

The City of Moraine, where Fowle worked, officially terminated his employment in August due to his absence, but Mayor Elaine Allison announced on Oct. 22 that he is welcome back to work when he is ready.

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