Minnesota Parents Claim Son Taken By Russian Military in Ukraine

Parents from Minnesota say their adult son who was living in Ukraine was taken by the Russian military, and they now fear for his safety.

Tina Hauser said her son Tyler Jacob, 28, was forced onto an evacuation bus for foreigners that departed near the southern city of Kherson and was later believed to be detained by the Russian military at a checkpoint. She said the last time she spoke to him was Saturday morning, WKBT reported.

"My worst nightmare is coming true, and I'm fearful that they are going to torture him and kill him, and I'm not ever going to see my son again," Hauser said to KAAL.

U.S. officials previously warned the Russian government could arrest American citizens and use them as pawns after sanctions were imposed against the country following its military invasion of Ukraine. Americans were urged to leave Ukraine in January ahead of Russian military action.

Jacob had indicated that all foreigners were being transported from the area, and he was forced to leave his wife and daughter behind. At a checkpoint in the Russian territory of Crimea, the Russian military reportedly detained him and placed him on a different bus, according to KAAL.

Jacob's father, John Quinn, told WCCO his son was the only American on board the bus and the only person who was detained. He is concerned his son may be used as a pawn in Russian propaganda after he showed up on Russian news.

"They eventually made a video with him as the subject about how well they were treating the prisoners over there, it's heart wrenching," Quinn was quoted by WCCO.

Jacob initially moved to Ukraine last summer to teach English and was working in Kherson when Russian troops entered the city. Quinn said Jacob fell in love and got married while in Ukraine and "now we are in this mess," WCCO reported.

"We knew when he went over there that there was a chance of the war," Hauser told WEAU. "He was in Poland just before the war started, and I said I think you should stay, and he said, 'No mom, I want to go back home, I have a job.'"

Hauser previously posted on Facebook that her son said it was safer to stay where they were because Russians were "taking Ukrainian vehicles to kill people" and "using Ukrainian citizens as shields." However, Hauser told WKBT he "pretty much had to go" because he was a foreigner.

Jacob's family reached out to government offices for help. Hauser wrote on Facebook Wednesday that the U.S. Embassy in Moscow called her and is now communicating via email. However, the embassy said it would "be a long slow process."

In a statement, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar said, "My heart goes out to Tyler's family and we will do everything to locate him. My office is working with the State Department and U.S. Embassy in Moscow to find him and resolve this situation as quickly as possible."

Newsweek reached out to Tina Hauser for comment.

Follow Newsweek's live blog for updates on the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Update 3/16/22, 5:15 p.m. ET: This article was updated with additional information.

Update 3/16/22, 5:42 p.m. ET: This article was updated with additional information.

U.S. Taken By Russian Military
Parents from Minnesota say their adult son who was living in Ukraine was taken by the Russian military, and they now fear for his safety. Above, a soldier from the Ukrainian Territorial force stands guard in front of a train which prepares to depart from a station in Lviv, western Ukraine, en route to Poland, on March 3. Daniel Leal/ AFP/Getty Images