North Korea to prosecute detained West Carrollton man

Published: Sunday, June 29, 2014 @ 9:50 PM
Updated: Sunday, June 29, 2014 @ 11:29 PM

North Korea said it is preparing to prosecute a West Carrollton man and another American for carrying out what it says were hostile acts against the country.

Jeffrey Edward Fowle, 56, entered the communist country on April 29 as a tourist. North Korea's state media earlier this month said authorities were investigating him after he allegedly left a Bible behind in a hotel room. They said he was under investigation for committing acts inconsistent with the purpose of a tourist visit.

Investigations into Fowle and Miller Matthew Todd, 24, concluded that suspicions about their hostile acts have been confirmed by evidence and their testimonies, Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency said in a short report, the Associated Press reported late Sunday.

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KCNA said North Korea is making preparations to bring them before a court.

Fowle is a longtime streets department employee for the city of Moraine. He and his wife, Tanya, have been married for 14 years, and have three children: Alex, 12; Chris, 10; and Stephanie, 9. His family said through their attorney Timothy Tepe previously that Fowle was not on a Christian mission trip but that he was in the country because he loves to travel and experience different cultures and see new places.

Tepe could not be reached for comment Sunday night.

North Korea also has been separately holding Korean-American missionary Kenneth Bae since November 2012. He is serving 15 years of hard labor for what the North says were hostile acts against the state, the Associated Press reported.

The United States and North Korea do not have diplomatic relations, so Sweden, which has an embassy in Pyongyang, oversees consular issues for the U.S. there. Unless a detainee signs a privacy waiver, the State Department cannot give details about the case.

The Korean Peninsula is still in a technical state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. About 28,500 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea to deter potential aggression from the North.