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Ruppersberger Calls Attention To Man Missing In Libya

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WJZ general assignment reporter Mike Hellgren came to Maryland's News...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Desperate for clues. The family of a Baltimore native missing in Libya is getting some high-powered help.

Mike Hellgren shows us how Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger could help bring the missing man home.

Ruppersberger joined Matthew VanDyke’s family. He talked about the role Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi may be playing and the danger VanDyke is facing.

The fighting remains fierce as Libyan rebels battle dictator Muammar Qaddafi for control of the country. Matthew VanDyke, 31, wanted to witness history firsthand and tell the world the story of the Libyan revolution. His family believes he was captured while there, likely by Qaddafi’s forces.

Now, Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger has vowed to help them navigate a diplomatic nightmare.

“This is a major priority when you have an American being held captive, especially based on the situation that’s occurring in Libya,” he said.

So what is being done to free Matthew VanDyke?

WJZ has learned Hillary Clinton’s State Department has taken the lead in the investigation and talks have gone all the way to the White House.

Ruppersberger says the rebels in Libya have been contacted and he plans to introduce a resolution on the House floor, calling for VanDyke to be freed, hoping to get Qaddafi’s attention.

“You don’t want to take it public until nothing else works,” said Ruppersberger. “What I know about him, he’s very controlling and he’s on top of everything, and if he knew that he had Americans there, I think he would know who they are and where they are.”

Sharon VanDyke has traveled the globe trying to find her son, who went missing in March. She says the young journalist never intended to put himself in harm’s way.

“He didn’t believe he was ever going to be in an area where Qaddafi would show up,” she said. “It looks like when Qaddafi arrived in Brega, Matthew was there.”

At this point, though, it’s unclear where VanDyke is and how much danger he’s in. Ruppersberger says generating international pressure is key to finding him.

“The number one priority is to bring him home safely,” he said.

VanDyke is a UMBC graduate who speaks some Arabic. He has traveled extensively in the Middle East.

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