Josh Holt's mom spends week in DC pushing for his release from Venezuela jail

Laurie Holt meets with Rep. Mia Love in Washington, D.C. (Photo courtesy: Laurie Holt)

(KUTV) A Utah mom whose son is imprisoned in Venezuela has just wrapped up a trip to Washington, D.C., pushing for his release.

Speaking to 2News from the airport in Washington, Laurie Holt said her ten-month ordeal is getting more attention from leaders at the highest level.

“I’m tired,” Holt said, “but I feel good about everything."

During her four-day trip, Holt met with a lot of people about her son, Josh, who has been imprisoned in Venezuela since June 30, 2016. He had traveled to that country to get married several weeks earlier. Josh and his wife, Thamy, faced weapons charges and were accused of being spies. The Holts have denied all the charges.

Sen. Orrin Hatch invited Laurie Holt to the nation’s capital and helped arrange her meetings. During the trip, Holt also met with other members of Utah’s congressional delegation including Rep. Mia Love and Rep. Chris Stewart.

Holt also visited the White House Thursday, sitting feet away from the Oval Office. She said she spoke with President Trump’s Deputy National Security Advisor, Kathleen McFarland, who told her the president has been briefed multiple times on Josh’s situation.

“She was really nice,” Holt said. “She just gave me a lot of hope that good things are going to happen.”

Holt also made a last-minute, surprise visit to the Venezuela Embassy on Tuesday. She said that meeting was “very emotional” as she pleaded with that country’s government officials to release her son.

“You think about somebody that’s holding your child captive, and you’re talking to that person,” Holt said. “That was the part that was really hard.”

Holt got no firm answers about her son. She said the Venezuelan officials told her “we need to let it go through the proper channels with the courts.”

The court process has been fraught with challenges for the Holts. Judges often haven’t shown up to scheduled hearings, causing them to be postponed.

While in prison, Holt said her son has struggled physically and emotionally. She said Josh is depressed and feels like he will never get out.

“Josh turned 25 last Friday in prison,” Holt said. “I’m pushing really hard. I want him home. I want him home now. I’m tired of waiting.”

While she is frustrated and impatient, Holt said she is also optimistic after the week’s events. If anything, she said, she got a little more hope.

“I feel really good about things to come,” she said. “We’re going to push forward and hopefully we're going to get Josh home very soon.”

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