Joshua Holt: American retained in Venezuela returns to his home in Utah



  Grandmother embraces grandson

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Malinda Holt (right) places an American flag around the shoulders of her grandson

A former US missionary and his wife have returned to Utah after being released from a Caracas prison where they were incarcerated for almost two years.

Joshua Holt, who was arrested in 2016, landed in Salt Lake City on Monday in a crowd with signs saying "We never gave up" and "Let Freedom Ring."

Mr. Holt and his Venezuelan wife, Thamy Caleno, were received by their grandmother and their seven-year-old daughter.

The couple returned to the US UU on May 27 and met with President Donald Trump.

Mr. Holt and his wife were imprisoned in the Venezuelan capital accused of hiding weapons.

His family, friends and followers celebrated the couple's return on Monday with posters in Spanish and English and Star Spangled Banner.

Malinda Holt, Holt's grandmother, placed an American flag around her grandson's shoulders while the spectators sang in the United States. National anthem.

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The parents of Mr. Holt (back), his wife Thamy (center left), Mr. Holt (center right) and his daughter Marian (right front) at the Salt Lake City airport

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Josh Holt (center) meets with his family in Utah

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The crowd of friends and family applaud Mr. Holt

Mr. Holt briefly thanked his friends, family and followers, and said that he and his wife were exhausted, that they had "slept maybe four hours in four days," according to the Associated Press.

On Saturday, Mr. Holt and Mrs. Caleno returned to the United States via Washington DC, accompanied by Senator Bob Corker, who helped negotiate his release.

Holt's parents, Laurie and Jason Holt, were with their son when he met with the President at the White House on Saturday.

Mrs. Holt said his son is in good health, but he "is not the same Josh who left."

"He just does not have that sparkle in his eyes yet," Ms. Holt told the AP.

"He will come back, I know he will, we just have to give him time"

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Nattalia, the other daughter of Mr. Holt, kisses him on the cheek at the airport

After meeting President Trump, Holt said: "I am so grateful for what you have done, and for thinking of me and caring about me, just a normal person."

Mr. Holt had traveled to Caracas in June 2016 to marry Ms. Caleno, also a Mormon, after the couple met online.

The couple wanted Mrs. Caleno and her children to move to the United States with Mr. Holt after the marriage, but they were detained in the family's house in Caracas while waiting for visas from the States. United. They were accused of hiding weapons.

A spokesman for Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said the couple's release was a "gesture" aimed at improving the dialogue between Venezuela and the United States. UU


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