Family petitions to bring kidnapped man home
CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. (WSVN) -- The family of a South Florida man who was kidnapped in Iran is holding out hope after pictures of their missing loved one were released this month.
Dan Levinson has not seen his father, private investigator Bob Levinson, in six years. He is hoping an on-line petition that he intends to send to Washington will help bring his father home.
"I'm in my mid-20s, and there are so many life choices that I need advice about," Dan said. "I miss his guidance," he added.
The last time Dan saw his father was in 2007, right before the older Levinson left for the Iranian island of Kish. His family said he flew there to investigate a cigarette smuggling ring.
Bob was kidnapped, and earlier this month his captor sent his family a video, as well as pictures of the patriarch wearing an inmate uniform like the ones worn at Guantanamo Bay.
The family believes the video and pictures were taken in 2011. Bob is seen in the photographs sporting a long beard. It's clear he has lost weight. "Obviously, in just the facial expression, you can see how angry and frustrated he is," Dan said.
The younger Levinson hopes that thousands of people will click on the Help Bob Levinson page on Facebook and sign the on-line petition. "Every signature matters," Dan said. The petition will be sent to the White House, and asks the Obama administration to make finding Bob Levinson a top priority in 2013.
Dan is hoping that, by the end of the weekend, 25,000 people will have given their electronic signature. "We just need more from the top-level officials that have the power to bring him home," Dan said.
Bob Levinson's release could be a tricky diplomatic mission. The family and some in Washington believe the Iranian government is holding him hostage. It is a regime the U.S. has accused of trying to develop nuclear weapons, and the relations between the two countries are tense.
Dan hopes these delicate relations will not be an insurmountable obstacle to having his father back with his family. "The roughest part for us is that we would have dreams where he's back, and he's asking what's going on," Dan said. "The worst feeling is waking up and realizing the nightmare is still a reality," he continued.
So far, about 10,000 people have signed the Levinsons' petition. The FBI is offering a $1 million reward for information as to Bob Levinson's whereabouts. To learn more go to www.helpboblevinson.com
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