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Held in North Korea for six months for leaving Bible in night club

Published:Wednesday | October 22, 2014 | 12:20 PM


An American arrested and held for

nearly six months in North Korea for leaving a Bible at a nightclub returned home to Ohio yesterday to tears of joy and hugs from his wife and surprised children.

A plane carrying Jeffrey Fowle landed yesterday morning at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, near Dayton, where he was reunited with his family.

Moments after Fowle, carrying two bags, stepped off a plane at the base just after 6:30 a.m., his three children and wife ran from a nearby airplane hangar and shared hugs.

Base Col John Devillier said Fowle had a tearful reunion, and that Fowle was happy and seemed thrilled to be back in the United States.

"We had a great reunion for an American citizen coming home," he said.

Devillier said Fowle's family hadn't told the children why they were being brought to the base and that it was a surprise for them to see their father walk off the plane.

"The reaction from his children was priceless," Devillier said. "They hadn't seen their dad in some time. The expectation would be that they would get teary eyed and they did, and I did, too. It's great to welcome him home."

The news of Fowle's return came about six months after he was taken into custody. Fowle said in interviews with The Associated Press that he left a Bible at a nightclub. Christian evangelism is considered a crime in North Korea.

He had been awaiting trial - the only one of three Americans held by Pyongyang who had not been convicted of charges.

The two others were each sentenced to years in North Korean prisons after court trials that lasted no more than 90 minutes. The three Americans entered North Korea separately.