North Korea detains Travis King, Racine soldier

North Korea likely has arrested Travis King, an American soldier from Racine.

The American government said Wednesday, July 19 they’re trying to figure out where King's being held, how he’s doing and why he did what he did.

Private Travis King’s home in Racine displays the mother's pride in her soldier.

"She’s dealing with a loss," said King's brother. "She’s already lost a kid before, a son at that."

King was a 2020 graduate of Racine's Washington Park High School.

Travis King

"Nice kid. Always waves," said Scott Quinn, neighbor. "I helped him out with a problem he had on his vehicle and no problems over at the house."

On Tuesday, witnesses say King was touring the demilitarized zone between North Korea and South Korea and then bolted to the north.

"Suddenly, I noticed a guy running, dressed in black, what looked like full gas toward the North Korean side," said Sarah Leslie, witness. "He just kept going and didn't stop."

According to the Associated Press, South Korea released King on July 10. He served 47 days for assault. 

Travis King

On Monday, King was supposed to leave South Korea and travel back to the United States, where he could have risked possible discharge.

"We understand the gravity of the situation," said King's brother. "It’s all very unfortunate. We all wish it never happened, however. My mom already lost a child before, a son before. This is weighing very heavily upon her, and we don’t want to discuss anything, and just respect our privacy right now because it’s hitting her very hard."

"All the other stuff, just defer to the military because they have all that information in regards to that," King's brother added. "We’re not the negotiators. We’re not the whatevers."

"We're gathering all the facts, but I want to be very clear that the administration has and will continue to actively work to ensure his safety and the return of Private King to us and to his family," said White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

Jean-Pierre said the U.S. is working with Sweden and South Korea and even North Korea, an enemy country with no normal diplomatic relations, all trying to bring this soldier home.

Travis King's brother

"Speaking on Travis’ character, there’s nothing I am going to say that’s going to change people’s opinions on it right now, so I’m not going to comment on any of that," said King's brother. "It’s really not going to make a difference."

I think something is wrong with him," said Carl Gates, King's grandfather. "He ain’t thinking clear. I don't think he would just run like that. I can’t see that, and my daughter said the same thing, too. She said, ‘That don’t seem like my son. I would like to see him come back, and they get him some medical help. I think that’s what he needs, medical help."

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Those are some of the questions the U.S. government said they're trying to get answered.