Cody Weddle's mother 'very, very, very worried' for her son in Venezuela

US Embassy waiting to hear back from Ministry of Foreign Affairs

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor, Amy Viteri - Investigative Reporter

VENEZUELA - The family of freelance journalist and Local 10 News contributor Cody Weddle has reached out to the U.S. Embassy in Venezuela to find out his whereabouts and make sure he is OK, his mother, Sherry Weddle, told Local 10 News Wednesday.

Sherry Weddle also spoke to CNN Wednesday, saying she is "very, very, very worried" for her son.

According to Sherry Weddle, officials at the U.S. Embassy said they have reached out to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and are waiting to hear back.

Embassy officials told her it's not unusual for it to be a slow process to get answers about his status.

During an interview with the Bristol Herald Courier, Sherry Weddle said she was first notified Wednesday morning about her son's detainment by a colleague, who Cody Weddle gave his mother's contact information to in case something happened to him. 

Sherry Weddle said she was told her son's home in Caracas was raided around 8 a.m. and authorities took his passport, cash and a large bag that possibly contained his reporting equipment. 

"To the best of my knowledge, he hasn't done anything wrong other than report the news," she said. "And he reported on Monday. His story was talking about the 'triumphant' return of the second president. And I think the reason it was considered triumphant was because he wasn't arrested when he got off the plane. I don't know if that was misinterpreted as taking somebody's side, but he was just reporting the news."

As of 4 p.m., Cody Weddle and his assistant, Carlos Camacho, were reported to have been undergoing interrogation inside the Boleita headquarters of the DGCIM, the Venezuelan military's counterintelligence agency.

By 6:30 p.m., family members said Camacho had been released. 

A spokesman for Venezuela's journalists union told reporters witnesses heard officials citing crimes of espionage and treason during the raid, and confirmed the order was signed by a military judge.

Sources told Local 10 News Cody Weddle could be put in front of a military prosecutor, but when is not clear.

Sherry Weddle said she last saw her son in September and last spoke to him Tuesday night via Facebook messenger.

"[I heard from him at] maybe about 6 or 7 yesterday evening and yesterday morning about 10," she told CNN. "I asked him how he was doing. He said he was fine and wanted to know how I was."

According to Sherry Weddle, her son has lived in Venezuela since June 2014. 

Politicians in South Florida, as well as in Cody Weddle's home state of Virginia, have called for his immediate release.

"We have been informed of the detainment of Cody Weddle by his family, and I urge his swift and safe release by Venezuelan authorities," Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., told the Herald Courier. "This is another example of an alarming trend of leaders across the globe cracking down on freedom of the press."

"A free press is a foundation for democracy," U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Fla., tweeted. "We can't let Maduro attack human rights, much less the rights of an American citizen. Maduro, release him now. #VenezuelaLibreYa."

Cody Weddle, 29, is originally from Meadowview, Virginia. 

Prior to freelancing, Cody Weddle worked as an intern at WJHL-TV and was a reporter and anchor at WKPT-TV in Kingsport, Tennessee, from 2012 to 2014.

He attended Virginia Tech and graduated with a bachelor's degree in communication and a minor in Spanish.
 

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