6 KFDM: Lake Charles man detained in Venezuela for 14 months, family wants him home
The following article by QUENTIN HOPE was published by Lake Charles Local station 6 KFDM on February 1, 2019.
November 21, 2017, Tomeu Vadell boarded a flight to Venezuela. He and six Citgo employee's were heading out of the country for a sudden company meeting.
"Suddenly my phone is blowing up and I learned that my father was detained in Venezuela," Cristina Vadell said, Daughter.
"Different friends and family from all over the world was sending me links, news articles, what's going on with my father," Veronica Vadell said, Daughter. "I scroll down I see my mom texting hey please call me."
"I could not figure out what was going on I was like this is a mistake this is a mistake," Dennysse Vadell said, Wife.
The reports were not a mistake. Vadell was one of six Citgo employees who were detained.
His family back home in Lake Charles, stunned and left without answers.
"After he was taken it took over 30 days for him to have access to a lawyer and a phone to call his family," Veronica Vadell said. "So we spent over 30 days wondering where he is, what's going, on is he alive, what's happening."
Eight months after Vadell was detained his wife, Dennysse, traveled to Venezuela. Not knowing what she and others were about to witness.
"All the detainees there waiting for the visitors and when I came I just looked around because I couldn't find my husband," Dennysse Vadell said.
Her husband didn't look like the man she's been married to for more than 30 years.
"Very thin and no hair and he went Dennysse... I didn't recognize him."
His family says Vadell has lost about 60 pounds. They have since learned that the detainees don't get much sunlight or exercise.
Now, 14 months later he has since missed graduations and holidays.
He tells them to stay strong and not to worry, but his family just wants him home.
(hayes weggeman)-son in law
"We're going to get him out with everyone's support we need everyone's support and we're going to get him out, and he needs to come home this is enough this is a humanitarian crisis," Hayes Weggeman said, Son-in-law.
"Just not knowing anything really about what's going on it just makes it that much harder," Diego Vadell said, Son. "Not knowing what to do or what the next step, or how much longer he'll be there it's really rough."
You can follow for updates on the "Citgo 6" here.
The original publication can be found HERE.