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Valley Journals

Honeymoon Gone Wrong in Venezuela

Aug 04, 2016 01:19PM ● By Natalie Mollinet

Josh Holt and his wife Thammy Claeno --- Mindy Jones

Natalie Mollinet | Natalie@mycityjournals.com


Sugar House, Utah - One family in Sugar House is in distress as they await to hear any news about their son and nephew who has been arrested in a Venezuelan prison.

24-year-old Josh Holt was living in Venezuela with his wife while she waited to receive her visa to move to the United States. On July 1st, the local police barged into their apartment claiming that Holt was an American spy.

“We believe they planted guns and grenades that they so called found in the apartment,” said Mindy Jones, Holt’s aunt, and a Sugar House local, “His bail was set to $100,000 in cash.”

After his mission to Washington State, Holt met his future wife Thammy Caleano on LDSsingles.com, he flew down to meet her and the two met in the Dominican Republic. Needless to say the two fell in love and wanted to get married. Holt proposed and after coming back to the United States to get his visa, he flew down to Caracas, Venezuela and married her.

“His mother begged him not to go because of the dangerous condition in Venezuela,” Mindy said, “he said ‘I will be fine,’ but I don’t think he realized how bad things are there.”  

Holt is stuck in a 6x6 cell but the American embassy has finally been able to talk with him, the family however has not been able to. The only communication they’ve had with Holt is through their Venezuelan attorneys who are doing their best to free him.

Holt’s new in-laws in Venezuela are doing what they can according to Jones, but it is difficult for them with their daughter also in prison.

“They are extremely poor,” Jones said, “they can’t do much without money. Her family said it costs even $400 dollars to talk to a judge. I don’t know if that’s true, it seems that Venezuela is pretty lawless right now.”

The family has reached out to Orin Hatch’s office, but haven’t heard anything back. Jones says that it’s hard to be up here not knowing exactly what’s going on down there and only having their attorney’s advice.

“If there was an answer to what we needed to do to get him out that would be great,” Jones said, “dealing with a country that’s basically communist makes the whole thing tricky.”

Holt’s mother lives near the Sugar House area and believes that it’s a misunderstanding, that an LDS mission isn’t the same as a secret mission, along with Washington State versus Washington DC.

“She’s scared things don’t look great,” Jones said, “she has a hard time doing anything, her mind is constantly worrying about Josh.”

According to Jones a similar situation has happened with another man from the US going down to marry a girl, he’s been in prison for five years.

The family has set up a gofundme.com account where people can donate to help Holt out of this situation. They held a rally and raised money by raffling off trips and other prizes, but not only are they relying on money, but prayers.

“We pray every day that he will be released,” Jones said.

The family asks that if anyone knows about these situations and may know how to help, they would appreciate it. You can email the writer of this article and she can put you in contact with the family.