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N. Korea holds man with ties to Colusa
A Colusa man is concerned about a former resident and childhood friend who was detained in North Korea.
Korean War veteran Merrill Newman, 85, of Palo Alto, on a tourist trip to North Korea, was taken off an airplane.
A uniformed North Korean officer boarded the plane on Oct. 26 and asked Newman, a tourist, for his passport before telling a stewardess that Newman had to leave the plane, the son, Jeffrey Newman, said Wednesday.
"My dad got off, walked out with the stewardess, and that's the last he was seen," Jeffrey Newman said at his home in California.
Charles Tuttle Jr., 86, of Colusa said Merrill Newman grew up in Colusa and attends annual class reunions.
"I talked to his wife this morning," Tuttle said. "I am terribly concerned. She was worried. I cannot imagine it."
He said the Newmans regularly travel the globe, and he instantly recognized Newman's name when he heard the news on Thursday morning.
Newman "was a class behind me. He is a year younger," Tuttle said. "We used to play touch football on the lawn every day at his house."
He was anxiously awaiting news on Newman and hoped Newman would be released soon.
It wasn't clear what led to the detention. The son said he was speaking regularly with the U.S. State Department about his father, but U.S. officials wouldn't confirm the detention to reporters, citing privacy issues.
North Korea's official state-run media have yet to comment on reports of the detention, which first appeared in the San Jose Mercury News and Japan's Kyodo News service.