FT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – It’s been seven years since a Coral Springs man disappeared while on a trip to Iran.
On Sunday, March 9th, 2007 Robert Levinson was kidnapped while visiting Kish Island. He’s the longest held hostage in American history.
The White House has maintained Levinson was a private citizen on a business trip at the time of his disappearance. Last January, however, Levinson’s wife Christine confirmed her husband was also working for U.S. intelligence.
“He was working as a consultant for the CIA,” said Christine Levinson. “He was also a private investigator. He was able to do both at the same time in his travels.”
Levinson’s family released a statement to mark the anniversary of his disappearance.
“Today we remind the world that, after seven years, Bob is still not home with those who love him – his wife, sons, daughters, grandchildren and friends. Bob’s continued imprisonment defies the humanity in all of us.
After seven years, we have almost no words left to describe our life without Bob. We miss his face, his voice, his laughter, his wisdom and his embrace. We miss everything about Bob. No matter where we turn, Bob is absent.
Bob will be 66 years old on Monday, March 10. We continue to be extremely worried about his health, especially due to his advancing age and the harsh conditions that he is enduring. We pray that he is receiving the medical care he may need.”
The statement also had a message for those holding Levinson captive.
“We ask those who are holding Bob to show mercy and send him home to us so he may live out the rest of his life quietly and in peace. We ask the government of Iran to resolve Bob’s case on humanitarian grounds so he may safely return home. We ask the U.S. government to recognize its duty to bring home one of its own who was taken while serving his country.”
U.S. Senator Bill Nelson acknowledged the anniversary on Twitter, “Today marks seven years since Bob Levinson disappeared while working in Iran. We need to keep pressure on government there to get him home.”
In November 2010, Levinson’s family received a hostage video in which he pleaded with the U.S. government to meet the demands of the people holding him, whom he did not identify. The 54-second hostage video showed Levinson looking haggard but unharmed, sitting in front of what appeared to be a concrete wall.
In the seven years that Levinson has been missing, the U.S. government said they’ve never been able to develop solid intelligence on what happened to him.
“Bob’s absence over the past seven years has exacted an enormous toll on his family, and we will not waver in our commitment to bringing him home safely to his loved ones and his country,” said FBI Director James B. Comey in a statement. “We continue to request the assistance of our international partners, as well as the Islamic Republic of Iran, and we continue to ask anyone with information regarding Bob’s disappearance to contact the FBI.”