85-Year-Old American Veteran Detained In North Korea - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

85-Year-Old American Veteran Detained In North Korea

Merrill Newman, who has been detained in North Korea since last month, according to his family. Merrill Newman, who has been detained in North Korea since last month, according to his family.

NBCNEWS.COM - An 85-year-old Korean War veteran from California has been detained in North Korea while on vacation to the reclusive country, his son said Wednesday. Merrill Newman was seated on his flight out of Pyongyang minutes from take-off when a uniformed official boarded the plane, requested to see his passport, and asked the stewardess to have him leave the aircraft, The Associated Press reported.

"My dad got off, walked out with the stewardess, and that's the last he was seen," his son, Jeffrey Newman, told the AP from his home in Pasadena, Calif. The day before Newman was detained on Oct. 26, he met with North Korean officials and discussed his service in the Korean War 50 years ago, his son told the San Jose Mercury News. "There's some misunderstanding here, a terrible misunderstanding, and my father has always had a deep respect for the Korean culture and the Korean people," he told the newspaper.

"We need to see what we can do to resolve that misunderstanding and return him home to his wife and grandchildren and put this behind us," Jeffrey Newman said. Nicholas Wright / Palo Alto Weekly via AP, file Merrill Newman, who has been detained in North Korea since last month, according to his family. Newman, a married grandfather and avid traveler from Palo Alto, retired as a finance executive in 1984.

He was a volunteer with the Red Cross for 50 years after serving as an infantry officer during the Korean War.Jeffrey Newman said his father was slightly unnerved by the meeting with North Korean officials but thought nothing more of it until he was hauled off his flight. "There have been other Korean veterans who've been back," he said.

"My dad was not breaking any new ground. He's always wanted to go to North Korea; it's been a lifelong thing. "Like the guys who go back to Normandy, the World War II veterans, these places had profound, powerful impacts on them as young men, and he wanted to see it again."

Dan Sneider, associate director for research at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center at Stanford University, told NBC Bay Area that reports of the detention were unusual because Pyongyang had not tried to use it to leverage anything from the U.S. Sneider said: "I hope that the North Korean government understands this is not a very smart thing to do under any circumstances and that they will see their way towards doing the compassionate and the intelligent thing and releasing him."

Newman's travel companion, Bob Hamrdla, also told the San Jose Mercury News: "I hope that the North Koreans see this as a humanitarian matter and allow him to return to his family as soon as possible." A newsletter on the website of Channing House retirement complex, where Newman lives, said the trip was scheduled to last 10 days and the pair were due to be accompanied by two North Korean guides at all times.

Newman's family told the AP they have been working with State Department officials and the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang -- often used by Americans in lieu of direct diplomatic contact with the hermit nation -- in a bid to secure Newman's release.

The Swedish ambassador delivered the American's heart medication but it was unclear if he received it, the AP reported. The State Department told NBC Bay Area that it was aware of reports that an American had been detained in North Korea. "We have no additional information to share at this time," the statement added.

"The embassy of Sweden in Pyongyang acts as our protecting power for issues involving U.S. citizens in North Korea." On Tuesday, the State Department issued an official warning to U.S. citizens not to travel to North Korea because of the risk of "arbitrary arrest and long-term detention," but it did not link it to Newman.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Vehicle goes over embankment at High Drive & 33rd, one person dead

    Vehicle goes over embankment at High Drive & 33rd, one person dead

    Monday, October 22 2018 9:19 PM EDT2018-10-23 01:19:10 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane Police say one person has died after driving over the embankment near High Drive and 33rd.  The victim hasn't been identified.  Crews will be working in the area for the foreseeable future so avoid the area if you can.  The cause of the crash is under investigation. 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane Police say one person has died after driving over the embankment near High Drive and 33rd.  The victim hasn't been identified.  Crews will be working in the area for the foreseeable future so avoid the area if you can.  The cause of the crash is under investigation. 

    >>
  • One man dead, another arrested after shooting near Post Falls

    One man dead, another arrested after shooting near Post Falls

    Sunday, October 21 2018 10:57 AM EDT2018-10-21 14:57:39 GMT

    POST FALLS, Idaho - Kootenai County Deputies arrested a man for involuntary manslaughter after they say he shot and killed another man Saturday evening near Post Falls. Deputies responded to reports of a shooting on Gallatin Way near Post Falls just before 7 pm. Deputies and medical personnel arrived and found a man, identified as Tyler S. Liles, with a single gunshot wound.

    >>

    POST FALLS, Idaho - Kootenai County Deputies arrested a man for involuntary manslaughter after they say he shot and killed another man Saturday evening near Post Falls. Deputies responded to reports of a shooting on Gallatin Way near Post Falls just before 7 pm. Deputies and medical personnel arrived and found a man, identified as Tyler S. Liles, with a single gunshot wound.

    >>
  • PHOTOS: Family treasures stolen from Spokane family

    PHOTOS: Family treasures stolen from Spokane family

    Monday, October 22 2018 8:33 AM EDT2018-10-22 12:33:01 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane County Sheriff's Deputies continue to investigate a break-in that happened Tuesday morning at approximately 8:08 AM. The victims say precious family treasures were stolen. "I stayed home for a few days after it happened," said Mandie Snyder.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane County Sheriff's Deputies continue to investigate a break-in that happened Tuesday morning at approximately 8:08 AM. The victims say precious family treasures were stolen. "I stayed home for a few days after it happened," said Mandie Snyder. "I wanted to stay here. I wanted to stay here and protect my house." Snyder says their Ring doorbell camera captured a man lurking around their property and then kicking their front door several times.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • National NewsMore>>

  • Supreme Court: Ross can't be questioned in census suit

    Supreme Court: Ross can't be questioned in census suit

    Monday, October 22 2018 8:43 PM EDT2018-10-23 00:43:44 GMT

    WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court says Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross does not have to give out-of-court testimony about his decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. The order Monday comes in response to lawsuits filed by more than a dozen states and big cities, among others, that challenge whether the citizenship question can be legally included.  

    >>

    WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court says Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross does not have to give out-of-court testimony about his decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. The order Monday comes in response to lawsuits filed by more than a dozen states and big cities, among others, that challenge whether the citizenship question can be legally included.  

    >>
  • Judge upholds Monsanto verdict, cuts award to $78 million

    Judge upholds Monsanto verdict, cuts award to $78 million

    Monday, October 22 2018 8:41 PM EDT2018-10-23 00:41:30 GMT
    Cropped Photo: Mike Mozart / CC BY 2.0Cropped Photo: Mike Mozart / CC BY 2.0

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A Northern California judge has upheld a jury's verdict finding Monsanto's weed killer caused a groundskeeper's cancer, but she slashed his $289 million award to $78 million. San Francisco Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos ruled Monday A San Francisco jury's August verdict included $250 million in punitive damages, which the judge said was too high.

    >>

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A Northern California judge has upheld a jury's verdict finding Monsanto's weed killer caused a groundskeeper's cancer, but she slashed his $289 million award to $78 million. San Francisco Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos ruled Monday A San Francisco jury's August verdict included $250 million in punitive damages, which the judge said was too high.

    >>
  • Oregon bakery appeals fine for turning away lesbian couple

    Oregon bakery appeals fine for turning away lesbian couple

    Monday, October 22 2018 8:39 PM EDT2018-10-23 00:39:20 GMT

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - The owners of a shuttered Oregon bakery fined for refusing to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple are appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that lawyers for Melissa and Aaron Klein, former owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, filed the petition Monday. They're asking the high court to overturn a state order to pay $135,000 in emotional damages to the couple they turned away.  

    >>

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - The owners of a shuttered Oregon bakery fined for refusing to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple are appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that lawyers for Melissa and Aaron Klein, former owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, filed the petition Monday. They're asking the high court to overturn a state order to pay $135,000 in emotional damages to the couple they turned away.  

    >>