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Bloomington native released from Venezuela prison after five years

Posted at 10:10 PM, Apr 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-26 22:10:12-04

INDIANAPOLIS — A Hoosier native is reported to be back in the United States on Friday after being imprisoned in Venezuela for five years, according to the State Department.

Todd Leininger went to the South American country to visit the country with his wife, as tourists, in 2014 and was arrested by police when he was accused of spying for the U.S. and trying to overthrow the government.

Earlier this month, Leininger was the focus of a U.S. Senate committee hearing. In an effort to bring Leininger home, Sen. Todd Young, R-Indiana, worked with President Trump, Vice President Pence, Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, John Sullivan, and others.

Senator Young issued this statement on Friday, following Leininger's release:

After five years, I am relieved that Todd has finally been allowed to return to the United States, and I look forward to welcoming him home to Indiana. It is shameful that it took the Venezuelan authorities almost a year to recognize the rule of law and release Todd as ordered by a Venezuelan court. My prayers are with Todd and his mother Barbara as they are reunited. My office will continue to provide any assistance needed as they work to move past this difficult period.”

Leininger's release came during a time of heightened time of tension between the Trump administration and the Venezuelan government.

In a statement Leininger's mother says, "This was a long and often heartbreaking journey, but I am so grateful to be reunited with my son and to have him back in Indiana."