Riverton mom hopes for son’s release as she awaits ruling from Venezuela judge

Posted at 10:58 PM, Aug 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-23 10:24:44-04

RIVERTON - Fifty-four days after their son was arrested in Venezuela, the Holt family and hoped to get word Monday from a Venezuela judge on whether or not charges would be dropped.

"Nothing today," said Laurie Holt, the mother of 24-year-old Josh who was arrested. She claims her son was arrested because he was an American.

A few months ago, her son had traveled to Venezuela to marry a woman he met online six months earlier. Shortly after the wedding, they say that Venezuela police showed up on their doorstep.

Holt and his wife were both arrested after police allegedly found two assault rifles and a grenade inside their home.

Laurie Holt believes those were planted. Still, her son and his wife have now been locked up in Venezuela for nearly two months while a judge soon decides if charges will be dropped, or if Josh will face a trial.

"Two to four years is what he's looking at," Laurie Holt said of a possible sentence.

In the past couple weeks, the Holts have entered into financial difficulties. An attorney in Venezuela has cost the family thousands of dollars.

"We were living paycheck to paycheck before this," Laurie Holt said.

She added the family is considering bankruptcy.

In the meantime, while the family waits for a judge to decide if charges will go through to a hearing for next month, the office of Sen. Orrin Hatch is working to get Josh Holt home.

Laurie Holt says they are considering humanitarian visas that would bring not only Josh, but his wife and her two girls with him.

"I can see it," Laurie Holt said. "I close my eyes, and I can see him coming down the escalator at the airport, and falling into my arms."

The Holts should know by the end of the week, whether that will be sooner or later.