“Our biggest fear right now is him coming home.”
It’s been three years since Joey and Paula Reed last saw their son Trevor, a former Marine currently being held in a Russian prison, and now they fear the ongoing conflict with Ukraine will mean their chances of a return are dwindling.
The couple sat down with ABC News’ “Start Here” on Tuesday and discussed the latest developments in their fight to bring their son home.
Joey Reed said the situation was “deteriorating” as communications with their son had declined since the start of the Russian invasion and on Monday he would have been sent to a prison hospital. He said he fears Russian officials are taking further action against his son and other Americans currently being held in their prisons and is urging President Joe Biden to take action.
“Our biggest fear right now is that he’s going home. We’re afraid they’re going to lay additional charges on him, false charges, which is typical of the FSB, and or he’ll die,” Joey Reed told ABC. News.
Trevor Reed’s detention began in 2019 when his family said he was visiting a girlfriend in Moscow. The 30-year-old was arrested after Russian authorities said he allegedly assaulted a police officer while drunk.
When questioned by Reed’s lawyers for video from inside the car, Russian authorities presented no evidence that he grabbed the wheel or assaulted the officers. But a year later, Reed was sentenced to nine years in a Russian penal colony.
Paula Reed said her family had tried to raise awareness about their son’s imprisonment, but were struggling to move things forward due to other headline stories, including the start of the pandemic.
“It just seemed like Trevor couldn’t take a break because every time we thought we were going to hear some news, something bigger was happening in the world and grabbing attention. So it took a lot time to get us on our feet running to get publicity,” she told ABC News.
The Reeds are also calling for the release of Paul Whelan, another ex-Marine imprisoned in Russia since 2020 following a conviction. The family responded to their pleas for help and protested outside the White House last week and demanded to meet with the president.
“We just thought they would see us and it would remind someone that they needed to be together for a reunion,” Joey Reed said.
Biden met the family after their protest.
The Reeds said during their meeting, which lasted more than half an hour, that they reiterated their calls for Biden for a prisoner swap.
“We believe this is the only way Trevor can come back soon,” Paula Reed said.
She added that her son was losing hope of ever returning home and picking up his life where it left off.
“The longer he stays in jail, the harder it will be for him,” she said.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement that “during their meeting, the President reiterated his commitment to continue working to secure the release of Trevor, Paul Whelan and other detained Americans. wrongfully in Russia and elsewhere, and to provide all possible assistance until they and others are free and return home to their families who are so passionately campaigning for their release.”
The White House declined to comment on specific details discussed between Biden’s parents and Reed.
The Reeds said they felt the president was responsive to their requests.
“He’s a good man. He had a son in the military. He’s lost kids and he’s compassionate,” Joey Reed said. “We believe that having heard from us, I can’t imagine him not doing anything to expedite the process of getting our son home.”
In the meantime, the Reeds said the government must do more to defend and bring back Americans wrongfully imprisoned overseas.
“We just want to get him out of there alive and the sooner the better,” Joey Reed said.