The family of Matthew Heath, who is being detained by the Maduro regime in Venezuela, said he attempted suicide.
Heath, a Marine veteran who was arrested in September 2020, “was rushed to a military hospital after attempting suicide and is now fighting for his life,” his aunt, Trudy Rutherford, said in a statement on Monday.
Heath’s uncle, Everett Rutherford, said in a CNN interview on Tuesday morning that his nephew is “in stable condition,” adding, “We do not think he is out of the woods. This particular suicide attempt was not successful, thank goodness. We have every confidence that he will try again.”
About two weeks ago, Heath began telling his aunt and uncle “instruction on what to do if he didn’t come home,” and while Everett Rutherford thought Heath was referencing a possible lengthy prison sentence, Trudy “immediately interpreted it as a cautionary bit of information as to what he had in mind,” he explained.
Trudy Rutherford said in the statement that “Matthew’s life is in imminent danger,” yet they “don’t detect any urgency at all from the White House.” She added, “We are frustrated with the pattern of ‘deciding not to decide’ at the White House, endless policy reviews, and empty platitudes about his case being a priority.”
Despite the criticism, the couple said in the interview that they had “great success” in talking with the special presidential envoy for hostage affairs, as well as with the National Security Council.
The Bring Our Families Home campaign, which represents the families of Americans who are wrongfully detained abroad, wrote a letter to President Joe Biden on Tuesday.
While the group expressed gratitude for the administration’s work in getting Trevor Reed and two people held in Venezuela home earlier this year, the letter said, “We are worried that many of our loved ones will continue to be left behind if we do not get your personal attention. It has become clear to us that without your direct involvement, other issues will continue to overshadow the release of our innocent family members.”
“The truth is that we have put our lives on pause for years to solely focus on saving our loved ones,” the group added. “We are exhausted, traumatized, and beleaguered. Life savings have been consumed; countless trips to Washington, DC have been made; and we have each learned how to do live interviews in front of millions on television. Yet our loved ones still are not home.”