By Alex DeMetrick

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—A Baltimore man who escaped from a Libyan prison on Monday talked with WJZ by phone on Friday.

Alex DeMetrick reports Matthew VanDyke may be out of his cell, but he’s not ready to leave Libya.

The dangers in Libya are obvious—32-year-old freelance journalist Matthew VanDyke left Baltimore to cover it.

For six months, he could only hear the war while locked in a prison cell.

“I’ve been hearing gunshots every day since I was in prison,” he said. “It was tortuous. I mean solitary confinement is a form of psychological torture. I have obsessive compulsive disorder that raged out of control with nothing but my thoughts, with nothing but staring at a wall for six months without knowing what they were going to do to me.”

VanDyke has traveled in the Mideast before and says he has made friends there. But being held in a Moammar Gadhafi prison was a nightmare.

“It was horrible. I didn’t know if they were going to put me on trial, or if a mob was going to take me outside. I mean those Libyan mobs sometimes stick tires around people and light them on fire while they’re still alive,” VanDyke said.

When rebels entered Tripoli, VanDyke was freed.

“Some of the prisoners were released by guards, and prisoners released me and we all escaped together from the prison,” he said.

And while plenty of danger remains, “I made a commitment to my friends when I came here I would not leave until Libya was free, and I’m going to keep that commitment,” VanDyke said.

VanDyke tells WJZ he is currently staying with one of the prisoners he escaped with this past Monday.

Comments (10)
  1. Geri says:

    Has he at least contacted his mother? She has worried herself almost sick I’m sure. Doesn’t he realize a door has been opened for him? Six months of almost going out of his mind and he wants to play hero; for the life of me I don’t understand it.

  2. Absolute Genius! says:

    Wow, Matthew. I was actually concerned for your welfare, when I first heard about you being imprisoned. I thought to myself: “It is, of course, his choice to go over there, but he probably never expected to be thrown in prison.”

    Now, after reading the story, Matthew, I think you are a true moron. Seriously, you talk about the people being burned alive in “Tire Fires”, and you choose to hang out for a while longer over there?

    Yes, Matthew, you may have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, but your main issue is Stupidity.

    I don’t wish you any harm, Matthew, but I do expect to read about your disappearance and/or death in the near future. So sad… But then I guess it is just evolution weeding out those who should not reproduce in today’s world. Thank you, Mother Nature. Take care, Mathew.

  3. GHARRIS says:


  4. JQP says:

    Despite enduring the trials you have, you remain committed to your goal, and for that, Matthew, I commend you. I hope that my kids are as diligent, hard working, fearless and dedicated as you are.

    I hope your Mom is relieved and proud, I know I would be.

  5. Nother Idiot Heard From says:

    To JQP: Oh right, like his mother is feeling “relieved and proud” about her son’s decision to stay in Libia where he has been waiting to die in prison for the last six months.

    Do you even think about what you are saying before you speak?

    1. Really? says:

      It’s LIBYA, not Libia. Don’t run around correcting others when you clearly have never picked up a map.

      1. Yes Really says:

        One’s point of view and perspective is never so weak and pathetic, as when one resorts to spelling or grammatical errors, as a means of attack. It is clearly “the last straw” precceding defeat.

        To break it down to layman’s terms: This reporter is an idiot. No matter how you slice it. This doesn’t mean that he can’t find a group of supporters for his stupidity; it just means that he does not hold the exclusive rights to that stupidity.

    2. JQP says:

      Sweetie, you just don’t get it, and that is ok,. I am not trying to hurt you, though clearly you take it personally. This is my own personal opinion to which I am entitled.

      And, yes, doll, as a mother, I do think before I speak. I would be very proud of my son for wanting to make his life meaningful. Perhaps you should try it, you know… instead of bashing strangers behind your computer.

  6. Abelyssah Beo says:

    Dear Man , I fear that YOU are seeking the ability to forgive and to become martyred for another source of fatalism . It is not up to YOU to define the problems of the culture . IT has been there for centuries. Stoic feelings of responsibility are shadowing Your senses. It is NOT your fault OR responsibility to understand the reason behind captive atrocity .You are clouded with pain for being held captive. YOU need to leave Libya or it will kill YOU for no end reason . You should find solice to safety . Become defused from the oppression . YOUR death will find temporary remorse and no solvency . Pardon my lack of composition , my education is very limited . A girl from Maryland , with Love .

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