Courtesy Photo: Laurie Holt

LDS newlywed arrested in Venezuela

 A returned missionary and newlywed was arrested with his wife in Caracas, Venezuela, on June 30.

Josh Holt served in the Everett Washington Mission, Spanish speaking, and returned home in January 2016. He married Thamara Holt on June 16, according to KUTV.

“The news outlet reported cops entered his apartment in Ciudad Caribia — west of Caracas — and found weapons and ammunition,” according to KUTV.

Laurie Holt, Josh Holt’s mother, said she believes it was a set up and that the police there planted the evidence, according to KUTV.

“Their speculation is that they thought he was either a spy or a terrorist, but we know it’s all about money,” Laurie Holt said. “It’s all about him being a U.S. citizen. The Venezuelan government hates the U.S., and this is just something political, and they’re eventually going to want money to get Josh back.”

She said Josh Holt was supposed to have a hearing on Saturday, and the judge would not see him. She said they had another hearing the next Monday, and the judge still did not release him yet.

“And the U.S Embassy, as far as we know, has not been able to see him,” Laurie Holt said. “The Venezuelan government will not let them see him yet. We know that he is losing weight. We were told that he is in a 6×6. We don’t know if they’re feeding him.”

She said she contacted many politicians in the U.S. already.

“Currently they are trying to reach out to the government, to try and put a little bit of pressure on them so that we can see Josh,” Laurie Holt said.

Maranda Stoddard, a sophomore studying elementary education, said she thinks one of the reasons for the Venezuelan government to arrest Josh Holt would be to get money from America.

“To bail their citizen out of jail,” Stoddard said. “And the more that more people know about it, I feel like it will grow up higher in the news system and the more that people will want to cover this story and will want to publish it.”

Laurie Holt said many people, in the past week, reached out for her family in the U.S. and for Thamara Holt’s family in Venezuela.

Laurie Holt said she found out about her son’s situation the day he was arrested through Thamara Holt’s family.

“My first reaction was that it was fake, that it wasn’t real,” Laurie Holt said. “I even tried to call Josh. I tried to call Tammy. Neither one of them were answering their phone. And then when we saw the newspaper article from Venezuela I knew that he had been taken. I knew that it was true.”

Cody Mattingly, a sophomore studying construction management, said he was in Josh Holt’s home ward for many years.

“It’s really hard for me to see that knowing that I can’t do anything besides pray,” Mattingly said. “I would put everything that I could to help him out. He’s just that kind of a kid. He is fantastic.”

Mattingly said there is not much BYU-Idaho students can do to help.

“It’s really hard to do something because we are all on a budget, but click share, pray and, if you can, put forth some money,” Mattingly said. “They are raising $30,000. The purpose is 100 percent just to get Josh home.”

Josh Holt’s family is using #justiceforjosh on social media to update anyone interested in his story.

To donate for Josh Holt, use

“Spread the news,” Laurie Holt said. “Somebody is going to have connections somewhere that can help us to get him out.”

'LDS newlywed arrested in Venezuela' have 5 comments

  1. July 9, 2016 @ 3:52 pm J.T.

    This isn’t about money. Most likely, the Venezuelan government will use him as “proof” that the U.S. government is behind the Venezuelan opposition that is trying to remove President Nicolás Maduro from power. Believe me, several former Latin American presidents have already travelled to Venezuela to petition to remove Harvard-educated opposition leader Leopoldo López from jail, but to no avail. This is a bad time for anyone with ties to the U.S. to be travelling to Venezuela.


  2. July 10, 2016 @ 2:31 am LDS church responds to law limiting missionary work in Russia KUTV 2News | Cowboy Ron News

    […] LDS newlywed arrested in Venezuela […]


  3. July 10, 2016 @ 7:10 pm Ashton

    What on earth is he doing in Venezuela anyways??? Not exactly easy for Americanos to travel there. Hopefully they will take money!


  4. July 11, 2016 @ 3:16 pm Trent

    The goof should ask their false prophet Joseph Smith to get him out.
    I hear Joseph has keys to heaven. ….lol
    For sure he can get a key to Venezuelan jail.


    • July 11, 2016 @ 8:40 pm Zack

      I’m pretty sure Joseph Smith died a while ago. We don’t usually talk to dead people. Do you?


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