Religious connection to local man detained in North Korea

Jeffrey Fowle detained in North Korea. (WDTN Photo)
Jeffrey Fowle detained in North Korea. (WDTN Photo)

WEST CARROLLTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Folks in West Carrollton want to see Jeffrey Fowle back home.

“I’m just really surprised that something like that is going on there today,” said neighbor Dave Erisman.

Fowle, a Moraine street department employee, is being detained in North Korea after he left a Bible in a hotel where he was staying. 2 NEWS interviewed him in 1996 for a story about potholes. Fowle arrived in North Korea April 29th as part of a tourist group but has been held in captivity since mid-May.

“The North Korea sees Christianity especially Protestantism as a form of Western influence, and potentially, a form of Western conspiracy to attempt to undermine their thought control of their own citizens,” said UD political science and human rights expert Tony Talbott.

Talbott said leaving a Bible is illegal.

“If you broke a law in a  foreign country, you’re subject to the criminal justice system of that foreign country, and this is one of the places with one of the worst criminal justice systems in the world,” said Talbott.

Talbott said North Korean officials could see the Bible as an attempt to spread Christianity.

“Because we are here, we have freedom of religion, but many people don’t have any freedom,” commented Pastor Young Yoon of the Seventh-Day Adventist Dayton Korean Church.

Pastor Yoon said he had a parishioner that escaped from North Korea to the United States.

“He got free, not only free from North Korea, from sin,” said Yoon.

Neighbors are hoping for the same fate for Fowle. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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