Riverton man imprisoned in Venezuela; Utah senators work with family to bring him home

Posted at 10:26 PM, Jul 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-06 10:24:23-04

RIVERTON, Utah -- A 24-year-old Riverton man went to Venezuela to get married, but instead ended up in prison accused of being a spy.

FOX 13 News confirmed Tuesday that Utah Senators Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee are working with Josh Holt’s family to find a way to bring him home.

Josh’s mother, Laurie Holt, said she can’t work and doesn’t sleep, not since she got the news last Friday her son was arrested.

“I still have an ache in my stomach that just won’t go away,” Laurie Holt said.

It all started in January when Josh Holt met a Venezuelan woman named Tammy online. Six months later he went to South America to marry her.

“Everybody said he can’t do it, it’s dangerous,” Laurie Holt said. “She even told him it was dangerous he was an American, but he was in love.”

The wedding went off without a hitch, but a week later Laurie Holt said she got a Facebook message from her son’s mother-in-law in Venezuela with an online article attached.

Police had arrested Josh when they allegedly found two assault rifles and a grenade in his closet.

For three days, the Holt family has fought for answers and for help, while locals tell them their son is stuck in a six-foot cell.

“I don’t know if he’s alive or dead,” Laurie Holt said.

On Tuesday, Laurie Holt’s inbox flooded with emails written by friends and family to a Venezuelan judge, in hopes of convincing him/her to release Josh Holt., fox13 reached out to utah senators orrin hatch and mike lee, and tonight, they confirm they are working with the family...

“I just want him home, I just want him to be safe,” Laurie Holt said.