Detained freelance journalist released from Venezuelan custody

Detained freelance journalist released from Venezuelan custody
Cody Weddle

(WDBJ) - A freelance journalist with Virginia ties who was working in Venezuela has been released by Venezuelan authorities, according to CNN.

Cody Weddle is currently at an airport and is headed for Miami, his mother told CNN. "He said he's fine," she said.

Weddle had been detained during a raid Wednesday morning.

The Washington County native and Virginia Tech graduate is a freelance journalist in Venezuela.

Politicians and relatives urged Venezuelan officials to release the Southwest Virginia native.

His mother, Sherry, said the family was told of his capture by his contacts in Venezuela, including someone who was told by her Weddle's housekeeper.

Sherry Weddle told CNN she is "very, very concerned" for her son's safety.

Weddle is originally from the Meadowview community in Washington County, where he attended Patrick Henry High School. He is a graduate of Virginia Tech.

He has worked as an anchor at WKPT in Kingsport, Tenn., and as in Intern at WJHL in Johnson City, Tenn., and at WSLS.

Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-Salem) issued a statement on Weddle's detention on Wednesday.

“It is unacceptable for Nicolas Maduro to detain Cody Weddle, an American citizen and a journalist, reporting to the world on what is happening in Venezuela. This action must not stand, and I demand Cody’s immediate and safe release," he said.

Sen. Mark Warner offered a statement via Twitter, urging Weddle's "swift release."

"This is another example of an alarming trend of leaders around the globe cracking down on freedom of the press," Warner said.

Virginia Tech officials weighed in as well, offering their support.

“One of the defining characteristics the Virginia Tech community is that Hokies look out for and support fellow Hokies,” said Mark Owczarski, Assistant Vice President for University Relations at Virginia Tech. “We, too, are aware of and watching the situation involving Cody Weddle. We are united in our hope for a rapid, peaceful, and safe resolution to his situation.”

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