DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – 2 NEWS has confirmed that Jeffrey Fowle, 56, from Miamisburg is being detained in North Korea.
The Moraine City Manager David Hicks says he is an employee with the city’s street department, but did not release any further detail.
A neighbor says Fowle is a father of three, but was traveling alone on this trip.
“Somebody ought to do something. Especially if the man has done any type of service. Seems like we ought to get help from somewhere,” said Dave Erisman, neighbor. “I mean you know for whatever reason he had, I don’t know, but you would think you wouldn’t be detained even if you wanted to go visit. You shouldn’t be detained.”
According to CNN, North Korea announced they detained Fowle for entering the secretive country as a tourist in April and broke the law.
The North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency reported that authorities are investigating a man who it said violated the law by acting “contrary to the purpose of tourism.”
CNN reports the Japanese news agency Kyodo, citing unidentified diplomatic sources, reported that Fowle was part of a tour group. He was detained in mid-May after allegedly leaving a Bible in a hotel where he had been staying. Fowle has attended Bethel Baptist Church in West Carrollton.
The U.S. State Department told CNN they are “aware of reports that a third U.S. citizen was detained in North Korea.” They released a statement to 2 NEWS:
“We are aware of reports that a U.S. citizen was detained in North Korea. There is no greater priority for us than the welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad. We have no additional information to share at this time. We urge any U.S. citizen considering travel to North Korea to read the Department’s Travel Warning on travel.state.gov. The Department of State strongly recommends against all travel by U.S. citizens to North Korea due to the risk of arbitrary detention or arrest.”
Congressman Mike Turner released the following statement Friday afternoon:
“I am deeply troubled by the the detainment of American and Miamisburg resident, Jeffery Edward Fowle, by the authoritarian government of North Korea. We have been in contact with the State Department and will continue to carefully monitor Fowle’s detainment as we await the release of additional information.“
Senator Sherrod Brown released the following statement:
“The detention of any American citizen in North Korea concerns me, especially one with Ohio ties. The State Department is currently gathering additional information on the cause of the detention and I will work closely with State as we learn more about this case. My thoughts are with Mr. Fowle and his family and I will be sure the State Department does everything it can to ensure the safety of U.S. citizens abroad.”