A pregnant American woman and her Canadian husband went missing in Afghanistan in late 2012. Now two videos obtained by The Associated Press present the first clues about what might have happened to them after they disappeared while traveling in a mountainous region near Kabul.
The videos were sent last year to the couple’s family, who has chosen to share them in light of the recent rescue of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who was freed from Taliban custody in exchange for the release of five Taliban suspects in U.S. custody.
In one video, Caitlan Coleman, 28, dressed in a black garment that shows only her face, asks “my president, Barack Obama” to help free her and her husband, Joshua Boyle, from Taliban captors.
“I would ask that my family and my government do everything that they can to bring my husband, child and I to safety and freedom,” Coleman says in the second video.
The child would be about 18 months old now, according to Coleman’s family. One U.S. official said the fact that the child was not shown in the videos was concerning, according to the AP.
U.S. law enforcement officials consider the videos to be authentic but warn that they are of limited value to the case because it isn’t clear when or where they were produced, the AP reports.
Coleman’s parents released a YouTube video in December 2012 asking for her release and expressing concern about their daughter’s well-being. Her father notes that she has a liver ailment that requires treatment and was then seven months pregnant.
The families told the AP they are disappointed that their children and grandchild were not freed as part of the same deal that freed Bergdahl, but said they are still hopeful that the U.S. and Canada can secure their release on humanitarian grounds.
“It would be no more appropriate to have our government turn their backs on their citizens than to turn their backs on those who serve,” Patrick Boyle, the man’s father, told the AP.
In 2012, he told the AP, “Our goal is to get them back safely and healthy. I don’t know what kind of care they’re getting or not getting. We’re just an average family, and we don’t have connections with anybody, and we don’t have a lot of money.”