Travis King is an American soldier who is being detained in North Korea after running across the border from South Korea.
Travis’ mother, Claudine Gates, said she can’t function or think straight since her son has been in custody in North Korea.
She said Travis is not the kind of person who would’ve just crossed the border like that.
I can’t function. I can’t think straight. It feels like I’m in a big nightmare.
Once nighttime comes, I start worrying more because I don’t know what they’re doing to him.
That’s not Travis… Travis just wouldn’t go over the border like that.
He’s the type of kid he would’ve wanted to come home… You know… He knew just going across that border it’s basically just committing suicide.
Travis King was scheduled to be on a flight back to the United States last month after serving 45 days in a South Korean jail for an altercation.
According to officials, instead of boarding the plane Travis left the airport and joined a tour of the DMZ, the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone that separates North and South Korea.
During the tour, officials say Travis ran across the border into the custody of the North Koreans, and he was driven away in a van.
North Korea is a dictatorship, while South Korea’s government has executive, legislative, and judicial branches, and is led by a President.
Travis’ uncle, Myron Gates, said Travis was experiencing racism during his military deployment to South Korea, and after he spent time in jail he started sending strange messages to the family.
After we hear about this fight and him going to jail, the messages became strange.
I was like, ‘You okay?’… And then he’s telling me, ’Nah, they trying to kill me.’
And he just continued to send these songs and speak to me, and he was saying things, like, said they racist.
I don’t know, it made me seem like something was going on with him. Like, he was fearing for his life.
Travis’ mother said she received a disturbing phone call in the middle of the night sometime before Travis crossed the border.
Like, three something in the morning I got a call from him, and I was half sleep, and he just called, and he just screamed, ‘I’m not the Army soldier you want me to be! I’m not the Army soldier you want me to be!’
And he kept screaming that out loud, and then all of a sudden the phone hung up, and then they were taking him to the hospital.
Travis’ family is searching for answers and calling on the U.S. government to help bring him back home.
Travis is a 23-year-old private in the U.S. Army.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Travis “willfully and without authorization” crossed the border… One of the most tensely guarded areas in the world… And that the Defense Department is closely monitoring and investigating the situation.
North Korea has confirmed that they are holding Travis pending an investigation.