The parents of Trevor Reed, a Texas Marine, fought back tears Wednesday while talking about his release in a prisoner exchange with Russia — saying their son had a hard time leaving behind other Americans held captive.
Reed’s parents said during a press conference in front of their Granbury, Texas home that they had a heads up from the US government about his release from a Russian prison after 1,000 days of captivity.
“We had a little forewarning that something might happen this week. We were on pins and needles every phone call,” said Reed’s father, Joey Reed.
Reed’s parents have worked tirelessly for their son’s release since his arrest in the summer of 2019.
The Marine veteran was accused by Russian authorities of assaulting an officer while being driven to a police station after a night of heavy drinking. He was sentenced to nine years in prison, though his family and the US government have maintained his innocence.
Reed had been in Russia learning the language, as part of his degree program at the University of North Texas, his family said.
During the 1,000 days Reed spent in captivity, his parents worried their son’s health was declining, as they feared he had tuberculosis and said he often looked malnourished.
As images of the prisoner exchange with the Russians were shown around the world, Paula and Joey Reed said they were horrified to see their son.
“He looked very frail and immediately tears just came to my face because he just didn’t look like himself. He’s normally so healthy,” said Paula Reed.
The 28-year-old American was flown to Turkey, where he was swapped for Konstantin Yaroshenko, 53, a Russian pilot who the US has dubbed “an experienced international drug trafficker.”
The prisoner exchange was agreed to shortly after the Reeds met with President Joe Biden recently.
“We’ve said for a year…we believe that if we can just get to the boss, we can get to the top man in our government, the executive, that we can make this thing happen because of (Biden’s) personality and what Americans know about him. You might not like his politics, you might not like certain things about him, but anyone who says he’s not a compassionate and kind man is a liar,” said the Marine’s father.
Paula and Joey Reed said they know their son has been taken to a US military hospital at an undisclosed location to be medically evaluated, and they’re not sure when they will finally get to see him.
The Reeds plan to bring their son home to Texas, nurse him back to health, help him readjust to life outside of a Russian prison and celebrate the end of an “all-consuming ordeal,” as their parents described the last three years.
“What they’ve done to Trevor, that is not the Russian people. Sometimes the Russian people are being misguided as some people in our country are misguided, and we just have to remember that. Don’t ever be mean to a Russian person who you see on the street in America because they’re not responsible for this, in fact, they’re probably here because of that,” said Joey Reed.