Henrico relative of slain journalist James Foley speaks out on h - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Henrico relative of slain journalist James Foley speaks out on his legacy

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

A Henrico relative of the American journalist executed by ISIS militants is speaking out, as the hunt for James Foley's killer intensifies.

There are media outlets reporting the suspect has been identified, but U.S. intelligence officials tell NBC News they won't release a name, because they don't want the suspect to know he's being tracked.

Henrico resident Ryan Jackson, Jim Foley's first cousin, says he and his family just want his memory to be honored. People all over the world have posted pictures holding signs reading "Remembering Jim." Now, Jackson has a permanent message on his arm.

The tattoo is a portrait of Foley, with the mantra "Live free or die" written underneath. They're words freelance journalist lived by, while trying to help others do the same, through his stories.

"Not many other people were willing to go and tell those difficult stories, and Jim did," said Jackson, while at Amy Black Tattoos in Carytown.

"Live free or die" is also the state motto for New Hampshire, where Foley grew up, according to Jackson.

Jackson hopes to tell of Foley's inspiring sacrifice every time someone notices his portrait on his right arm. "I just like to think that if anyone ever asked me, I could go on and tell all the wonderful things about Jim."

Jackson says Foley was equally known for his brave and kind heart. "People who knew him for years and years and people who met him for one time... remember vividly the times that they spent with him."

Even Amy Black, the tattoo artist who created Jim's likeness, says she even felt his compassion through his picture.

"Just from studying his face, you could tell he was a very kind person, a very sensitive person. You could see through his smile that he was very sincere, very genuine," said Black, who has been tattooing for nearly a decade-and-a-half.

Foley asked one of his fellow prisoners, about to be released, to memorize a letter to his family. Foley tells them, "I pray for you to stay strong and to believe. I really feel I can touch you even in this darkness when I pray."

Jackson will now be the one to share Jim's legacy. "That's kind of what Jim was all about, trying to help other people, and tell the stories of how they wanted to be free, as well."

Foley's family has set up a memorial fund in his honor.

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