Kevin (left) and a friend try on interesting coats prior to his kidnapping.
Kevin should have spent the summer wandering around the mall with friends. He should have started school in August and suffered through the same boring classes as everybody else. But this July, Kevin was vacationing with relatives in the Phillipines. He was probably looking forward to sunshine and a vacation he could brag about to his friends at home. Not terrorists for sure.
On July 12, Kevin and his relatives were kidnapped by terrorists with connections to al-Qaida. His captors called their family in Virginia to demand a ransom. When paid, only his mother was released. She stayed in the Phillipines to help free her son. His cousin escaped last month with help from the Filipino military. And so Kevin was left alone.
Not knowing if he would ever be released, he took matters into his own hands. He convinced four armed captors he was going down to the river to bathe. Kevin ran for his life-alone, hungry, exhausted, and shoeless in a foreign jungle-until he came upon a village. Unsure if the villagers were friendly, he ran from them to before they were able to convince him they didn't want to hurt him. They got him to officials, who helped him contact his parents and friends.
Kevin discusses his escape with Filipino soldiers.
When asked if a ransom had been paid, which would violate Filipino policy, Kevin said, "No, I really did it myself." The boy's father says, "I only know he is a hero and I'm so happy he escaped.
Alec Dement, Kevin's best friend, says "I’ve just been basically depressed every day,” he said. “I didn’t really talk to anybody for like three weeks." He can't wait for him to come home. “I just want to give him a hug and hang out with him for a couple of days straight."
After his dramatic escape from terrorists, Kevin will be home for Christmas.