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Family Hopes For Safe Return Of Md. Journalist Detained In Libyan Prison

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Matthew Vandyke

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TRIPOLI, Libya (WJZ)—Revolution in Libya. Moammar Gadhafi loses his iron grip on his country as rebels fight their way into the capital city. But while the Libyans celebrate their revolution, it’s been an agonizing 36 hours for a Maryland mother.

Meghan McCorkell reports on the desperate search for a Baltimore man being held in a Libyan prison.

Matthew VanDyke went to Libya to document history. A freelance journalist, he planned to write a book. But five months ago, he disappeared– detained in a Libyan prison.

Bullets fly as violence continues in Tripoli. Sharon VanDyke has been glued to her TV through it all.

“I haven’t been to bed since Friday,” she said.

Waiting by the phone, she’s been praying for good news about her son Matthew for days.

“I think they’ve been, if not the most difficult, some of the most difficult,” Sharon VanDyke said.

Matthew’s girlfriend– Lauren Fischer– has been by her side.

“It seems like things are moving so quickly now, so we really will get to talk to him and have him home soon,” Fischer said.

Matthew last made contact with his mother on March 13. In April, the State Department officially counted him among the missing Americans in Libya.  On Aug. 9, Libyan officials confirmed Matthew VanDyke was being held in prison.

Matthew VanDyke’s case has made headlines for months.  Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger is helping the family get answers.  

“We’re focused on bringing back an American to his home, his home being Baltimore,” Ruppersberger said.

But the congressman warns the transition in Libya will not happen quickly.

“Over the next couple of days there’s going to be a lot of chaos in Tripoli,” he said.

Sharon VanDyke just hopes this is the turning point, and she’ll soon hear her son’s voice.

“We’ve known all along in our hearts that he’s alive,” she said.

Matthew VanDyke has traveled extensively in the Middle East. Ironically, at this point, his mother hopes he is still behind bars, so he is safe from the fighting in Tripoli.

Ruppersberger’s office is now working with the State Department to try to bring him home.

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