kpix-7-2013-masthead kcbs 7-2013-masthead

Local

Palo Alto Vet Detained In North Korea Arrives Home Tired But Thankful

View Comments
Eighty-five-year-old Korean War veteran Merrill Newman shown here holding hands with his wife, moments after he arrived at San Francisco International Airport.

Eighty-five-year-old Korean War veteran Merrill Newman shown here holding hands with his wife, moments after he arrived at San Francisco International Airport.

Get Breaking News First

Receive News, Politics, and Entertainment Headlines Each Morning.
Sign Up
Trending Stories On CBS SF

ok trends Palo Alto Vet Detained In North Korea Arrives Home Tired But Thankful OKCupid Dating Website Admits To Deceiving Users With Phony Match Results

crocker amazon tiny home Palo Alto Vet Detained In North Korea Arrives Home Tired But Thankful Sizzling Hot, Or Overcooked? Big Asking Price For Tiny Fixer Upper In San Francisco

yosemite fire copy Palo Alto Vet Detained In North Korea Arrives Home Tired But Thankful 13 Homes Destroyed In Sand Fire Near Plymouth; Fire Near Yosemite Growing

bigrig5801 Palo Alto Vet Detained In North Korea Arrives Home Tired But Thankful Westbound I-580 Lanes Reopen In Livermore After Big Rig Crash Spills Bananas, Causes Major Delays

lawn spray painting Palo Alto Vet Detained In North Korea Arrives Home Tired But Thankful SoCal Homeowners Spray-Painting Lawns Green To Avoid Water Fees During Drought

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — An elderly Palo Alto man who was detained in North Korea for more than a month has been reunited with his family in the Bay Area Saturday morning.

Merrill Newman, an 85-year-old Korean War veteran, landed at San Francisco International Airport a short time after 9 a.m. on a flight from Beijing, airport personnel confirmed. His long-awaited return comes after a 42-day detainment in North Korea, according to a Facebook page dedicated to bringing him home.

“It’s been a great homecoming,” he told reporters at the airport.

“I’m tired, but it’s good to be with my family,” he said.

Newman thanked the Swedish embassy in Pyongyang and the American embassy in Beijing for their efforts in helping to bring him home.

He also thanked all of the well-wishers in the Bay Area and beyond for their support during his six-week ordeal.

The 85-year-old and his son, Jeff Newman, declined further questions from reporters Saturday morning.

Newman had been visiting North Korea and was set to return to the United States on Oct. 26, when he was detained for alleged “hostile acts against the state” stemming from his army service in the Korean War 60 years ago, according to statements on the Facebook page.

Before being deported by the North Korean government, Newman was recorded in a taped statement confessing to the alleged crimes.

Many have speculated that the statement was a forced confession.

When news broke on Friday that Newman was being deported, friends, family and strangers posted celebratory online messages.

Rep. Anna G. Eshoo, whose congressional district includes Palo Alto, also expressed her relief that Newman would be reunited with his wife Lee Newman and their son after his 42-day detainment.

“I am deeply grateful to the (Obama) administration, Ambassador Robert King and his exceptional staff, and colleagues who have from the beginning of this ordeal worked tirelessly with me to bring about Mr. Newman’s release,” the congresswoman said in a statement.

“Merrill and Lee Newman are beloved by the Palo Alto community, and we welcome him home with grateful hearts and open arms,” she said.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

View Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus