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Parents Of Journalist Killed By ISIS Open Up About His Death

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The parents of late journalist Steven Sotloff are now opening up to CBS’ “60 Minutes.”

Sotloff was the second American killed by the extremist group ISIS. He was kidnapped in August 2013, shortly after entering Syria.

Sotloff’s family spoke to CBS’ Lesley Stahl.

Steven Joel Sotloff was beheaded by the group on September 02, 2014. The video was seen around the world.

During her interview with the Sotloff’s, Leslie Stahl asked them if they too had seen the gruesome murder of their son.

“I have viewed Steven’s body with his head on his chest,” said his father Arthur Sotloff.

“I had to see that cause I needed to be sure that that was him,” said Sotloff’s mother Shirley Sotloff.

Steven was born and raised in Miami, attended college in Israel, and became a freelance journalist, reporting from war zones including Syria where he went in the summer of 2013.

Just before he crossed into Aleppo, he called his dad.

“He contacted me and told me not to worry, and, but if I don’t hear from him within four days, that I should get in touch with one of his colleagues,” said his father.

He didn’t hear from his son, not just for four days. It was four excruciating months, then finally they got a ransom letter with demands for the government to free all the Muslims in U.S. custody.

“Then there is a last option. One hundred million euros will secure Steven’s release,” said his mother.

“137 million dollars,” added his father.

“What was your reaction,” asked Stahl.

His mother responded, “reaction was how the hell are we going to get this money together?”

They thought the U.S. government would help them, but as Stahl explained on CBS This Morning, U.S. policy forbids the paying of ransom by the government or even the Sotloffs.

“They were told that if they raised money they could be prosecuted and anyone who gave them money could be prosecuted,” said Stahl.

There is a new hostage policy since Steven Sotloff was killed. The U.S. government still does not pay ransoms but they no longer prosecute families who try to raise the funds for the ransom.

The full interview airs Sunday at 8 p.m. on CBS4.

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