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Travis King’s mother tells North Korea, ‘I just want to hear his voice’

The mother of an American soldier being detained in North Korea after crossing into the country during a tour of the DMZ reportedly has a message for his captors: “I just want to hear his voice.” 

Claudine Gates made the remark to ABC News as U.S. Army Pvt. Travis King has now been inside the reclusive country for more than two weeks following the July 18 incident. 

“I was a very, very happy person. And now, I just worry,” she said. “Please, please send my valentine back home to me. I miss him so much. I just want to hear his voice.” 

Gates and her brother Myron say the 23-year-old King, leading up to his disappearance, left them cryptic messages by phone and text and sent YouTube links to songs they believe contained coded messages, according to ABC News. 

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This undated photo shows Travis King, the American soldier who officials say is currently being detained in North Korea. (Facebook)

One night, Gates said she received a phone call from King in which he screamed, “I’m not the Army soldier you want me to be,” and then hung up, ABC News also reported. 

“When he first went to Korea, he was sending pictures home and he was just so happy. And then, as time went on, he just started fading away. I didn’t hear from him anymore,” she said. 

The Pentagon said earlier this week that the United Nations has been in contact with North Korea about the detainment of King. 

In a Tuesday press conference, Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder said he can “confirm that the DPRK has responded to United Nations Command (UNC).” 

TRAVIS KING’S FAMILY SAYS AMERICA SHOULD ‘FIGHT FOR HIM’ TO COME HOME: REPORT 

Tourists stand near a border station at Panmunjom in the DMZ between South and North Korea

A group of tourists stands near a border station at Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone in Paju, South Korea, Tuesday, July 18, 2023. Not long after this photo was taken, Travis King, a U.S. soldier, bolted across the border and became the first known American detained in the North in nearly five years. (AP Photo/Sarah Jane Leslie)

“What I will tell you is, as you heard us say previously, United Nations Command did communicate or provide some communication via well established communication channels,” Ryder said.  

“But I don’t have any substantial progress to read out,” he added. 

A U.S. Forces Korea spokesperson said King was on a joint security area orientation tour last month when he “willfully and without authorization crossed the Military Demarcation Line into the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).” 

Travis King

This family photo shows a portrait of American soldier Travis King displayed at the home of his grandfather Carl Gates, Wednesday, July 19, 2023, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. King ran into North Korea while on a tour of the Demilitarized Zone on Tuesday, July 18, a day after he was supposed to travel to a base in the U.S. (Family Photo via AP)

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King was to be separated from the military and was supposed to go back to the U.S., according to an official who spoke to Fox News, but he skipped his flight and left the airport to go to the DMZ. 

Fox News’ Timothy H. J. Nerozzi contributed to this report. 

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