Missing Baltimore Journalist Seen In Libya

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Do you remember Matthew VanDyke?  Mary Bubala did a special report on the missing freelance journalist from South Baltimore earlier this month; 130 days ago he disappeared during the violent uprising in Libya. But finally some news on Matthew. He’s been spotted.

Matthew VanDyke is alive and being held in prison in Tripoli.  That news comes from his mother Sharon VanDyke. WJZ spoke with her just before she boarded a plane.

“I received an email from an international humanitarian aid organization,” Sharon VanDyke said. “Matthew is in prison in Libya. He’s 700 miles away from where he was when he was captured. What has he gone through all this time?”

Matthew VanDyke disappeared March 13 in the Libyan city of Brega.  He had been drawn to the turmoil to document history as rebels tried to overthrow Moammar Gadhafi.

Knowing her son was a seasoned traveler in the Middle East Sharon VanDyke never gave up.

She even traveled overseas in a quest to find him. She’s on a mission to find her son no matter what.

“He is a person who has a mother who’s out looking for him,” Sharon VanDyke said. “I went to the Libyan embassy and talked with Gadhafi’s men.”

Sharon VanDyke has contacted the U.S. State Department to share what she’s learned about Matthew. Right now he’s among several Americans missing in Libya.

The U.S. State Department is following the lead, so is Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger.

Ruppersberger introduced a resolution calling on Libya to free Matthew VanDyke and all captured Americans.

“We have a lot of negotiation to do with Tripoli, with the Gadhafi government,” Ruppersberger said. “We do have allies who have relationships right now with the Gadhafi government, and we will use those allies to try to help have him released and bring him back home.”

“It will still be a long process contingent upon how long Gadhafi’s in power, but the fact that I know he’s alive,” Sharon VanDyke said. “We just have to wait and hope that terrible war is over soon”

Sharon VanDyke is on her way to California for a fundraiser for her son. She plans to donate the money to children in Libya when Matthew is freed.

Last spring, four journalists were released after being detained for six weeks in Libya.

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