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Utah family says their son is stuck in Venezuelan jail

By Ashley Moser | Posted - Jul. 5, 2016 at 10:25 p.m.

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RIVERTON — The Holt family hasn't heard from their son, Josh Holt, since last week. They believe he is being held in jail in Caracas, Venezuela, after they say he was framed for being a U.S. spy.

The 24-year-old went down to the country on June 11 and married his fiancée, who is from there, on June 16. The two planned to wait for her visa before flying to the U.S. A plan that made family members nervous.

"We were just like 'Absolutely not. You cannot go there, it's dangerous,'" said Laurie Holt, Josh's mom. "We've seen everything on the news and he just didn't listen."

Last week the family received a Facebook message from his wife's mom, stating that her daughter and Josh were in prison. The message had little information about the arrest but included a local news article about the alleged crime. There are pictures of guns, a grenade, cash, Josh's passport, credit cards and I.D.s taken in the apartment the couple was allegedly staying in.

"Oh, I knew, I knew," Holt said. "When I saw that, I thought he's been taken, he's been taken."

The family contacted the U.S. embassy with little luck.

"They haven't been able to see him. [The jail] wouldn't allow him visitors," Holt said.

His new wife's family has also been in contact with the Holts, sending updates but also asking for clothes and items for Josh.

"We are being cautious. We have been told to be prepared. They are going to ask you for money," Holt said. "So we are waiting for that to happen."

The family is having a hard time getting the full story but officials at the U.S. embassy are advising them to get a lawyer. Quotes they've gotten have been around $100,000 so they've set up a GoFundMe* account.

They are also in touch with Sen. Hatch. His office told KSL they are looking into the arrest.

* does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.


Ashley Moser

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