BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Lost in Libya, a Baltimore man is missing after travelling to that Arab country as war breaks out.
Suzanne Collins spoke to his mother and girlfriend who say they are worried sick about his fate.
Matthew VanDyke is a journalist who has been in war zones. This time he went to Libya on his own to see the uprising first-hand and possibly write a book about it.
VanDyke wrote for the Baltimore Examiner, embedded with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. His mother and girlfriend say he’s fascinated by Arab countries and speaks Arabic. He went to Libya in February, as the uprising began despite the danger, staying with Libyan friends, hoping to write a book. But his family’s last contact with him was March 12.
“When he answered the phone, there was a lot of noise,” said Sharon VanDyke. “He was in a truck and he said ‘Mom, I can’t talk now; it’s noisy. I can’t talk now. Can you call me tomorrow?’”
His girlfriend says VanDyke did plan a day trip from Benghazi to Brega. But it was the same day government forces stormed a rebel stronghold in that part of the country.
“They didn’t go there to see a fight and Gaddafi’s forces rolled in unexpectedly, and especially with him being an American and he had press credentials with him,” Lauren Fischer said.
The family thinks VanDyke might be detained, arrested or a prisoner. They just hope he’s alive.
“I want to know he’s OK, where he is and he’s OK,” Fischer said.
Matthew VanDyke’s mother and his girlfriend say if he was captured by Gadaffi forces that they only hope they would spare his life and ultimately he might be freed.
The 31-year-old has a degree from Georgetown in foreign service and security. Much of his life since has been spent in danger zones, and he’s been held against his will in the past. But his mother believes he may be in even bigger trouble now.
“I can’t fall apart because I can’t spend that kind of energy in self-pity right now. I’ve got to spend the energy getting his picture out there to people like you so someone may see him or can help us,” his mother said.
The State Department says it’s aware of this case and other Americans in Libya. Its ability to locate them is limited.
The family has been on Facebook and Twitter sending posts around the world to try and find Matthew VanDyke.