An Ohio man was detained in North Korea for leaving a Bible in his hotel room, according to the state-run news agency.
Jeffrey Edward Fowle, 56, traveled to North Korea as a tourist on April 29. His family says the father-of-three was not on a mission for his church.
The state Korean Central News Agency says Fowle is under investigation for committing action “contrary to the purpose of tourism.”
His detention was confirmed by U.S. officials, but they did not comment on reports that he was detained over a Bible.
Rep. Michael Turner, R-Ohio, released a statement that he is “deeply troubled by the detainment of American and Miamisburg resident Jeffery Edward Fowle, by the authoritarian government of North Korea.”
“We have been in contact with the State Department and will continue to carefully monitor Fowle’s detainment as we await the release of additional information,” Turner said.
Fowle’s attorney, Timothy Tepe, said the family will release a statement on Monday and could not comment before then, “given the sensitive nature of Jeff’s situation.”
“This is a very fluid situation that has just come to light and they need time to process it,” Tepe said.
Fowle is now the third American being held in North Korea. U.S. State Department strongly advises Americans not to travel to there because of such arbitrary detainment.
“Do not assume that joining a group tour or use of a tour guide will prevent your arrest or detention by North Korean authorities,” the State Department said.