Mother of Hoosier ISIS captive: ‘I need to know that I’ve done everything that I can do’


Photo courtesy of the Kassig family

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(Oct. 13, 2014) – The parents of a Hoosier native held by the terror group ISIS kept the secret for about a year. They also said they’ve received an audio recording from their son within the last two weeks.

In an appearance Monday on CBS This Morning, Ed and Paula Kassig discussed the captivity of their son, Peter, now known as Abdul-Rahman Kassig. They also released new portions of a letter their son wrote in captivity.

He was kidnapped in October 2013, and his parents said they’re doing everything they can to secure his release. Why keep their son’s captivity a secret? The Kassigs said ISIS told them to. The couple struggled with the deception.

“We couldn’t answer honestly when people asked us. So we had to lie to our friends again and again and again,” Paula said.

They made the news public after the group executed Steven Sotloff, a U.S. journalist who shared a cell with their son. The group said Peter would be next.

“The dynamics have changed now. Steven’s family kept to secrecy, and he was executed. Peter’s name has been listed,” Ed said.

Their son was captured while delivering aid to Syria, which has been embroiled in a civil war.

“He always was a compassionate person. This was just something he thought he needed to do,” Ed said of his son’s work.

The parents learned about Peter’s capture through a phone call.

“It was Peter’s number. And I thought, ‘Oh, I’m going to get to hear from Peter.’ When I picked up the phone, I didn’t recognize the voice,” Ed recalled. “And the individual introduced himself, and we learned that (Peter) had been detained. That was on Oct. 1, 2013.”

After seeing images of their son in captivity, the couple retreated to a hotel. Even then, there was no escape.

“One minute you look at your scrambled eggs, and it’s football (on TV). The next minute you look up, and there’s your son. And you sit there and you have to watch,” Ed said. “Everybody’s jaw in the place drops. You’ve got to fake it, too, because you don’t want to stand there and look callous. Inside you just want to scream, ‘Hey, that’s my kid.’ We just ate it and went back upstairs.”

The Kassigs received an audio recording of Peter about two weeks ago. In it, he calls for U.S. airstrikes to stop as a condition of his release.

“It was just automatic, kind of toneless, as though he was a robot,” Paula told CBS This Morning. “And I’m sure it’s because they were insisting on what he could say.”

It was the first time they’d heard from their son in more than a year. They’ve launched appeals on Twitter and YouTube in hopes of saving their son’s life.

“I don’t know if (it’s working), but I have to try. Because I need to know that I’ve done everything that I can do,” Paula said.

The Kassigs said the money and actions demanded by ISIS are something they simply can’t do.

“We have tried but we don’t have the power to do it.”

Source: CBS This Morning

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