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Winona Family Seeks Word From Tyler Jacob, Believed Detained By Russian Authorities

Originally published March 15

CANNON FALLS, Minn. (WCCO) -- The family of a Minnesota man says their son was taken by Russian authorities as he was trying to flee Ukraine.

Tyler Jacob, 28, is from Winona and was teaching English in Ukraine when Russian troops invaded the country. His father, John Quinn, of Cannon Falls, said his son moved from Winona to Ukraine last summer and was teaching English in Kherson.

"He met a girl over there, fell in love, got married, and now we are in a mess," he said.

He said Jacob got on an evacuation bus for foreigners headed to Turkey on Saturday. But at a checkpoint in Crimea, the bus was stopped by Russian soldiers and Jacob was detained.

"It's heartbreaking that your child would have to go through something like that," his father said.

Being the only American on board, and the only one detained, Quinn fears his son is being used as a pawn for Russian propaganda especially after he showed up on Russian media.

"They eventually made a video with him as the subject about how well they were treating the prisoners over there, it's heart wrenching," Quinn said.

While he doesn't know where Jacob is, he knows he's tired and scared and is desperate to bring him home.

In a statement, Sen. Amy Klobuchar said, "My heart goes out to Tyler's family and we will do everything to locate him. My office is working with the State Department and U.S. Embassy in Moscow to find him and resolve this situation as quickly as possible."

"He's an American just like any other sports player, or anyone important like that, so he is just as important to me as that player is to their mom and dad, so he deserves to be here too," Quinn said.

Quinn said Jacob's wife wasn't allowed on the bus and is still trying to flee to safety.

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