Laurie Moon Holt got a bit of a break this week from the last three months of staggering worry about her son, Joshua.
Josh Holt, 24, was arrested June 30 in Venezuela on weapons charges just five days after flying to the country to marry Thamara Caleño Candelo, a woman he met on an online Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints website.
After weeks of concern that Josh's plight wasn't getting aired at the highest levels of the Venezuelan government, Secretary of State John Kerry mentioned the Utah man when he met with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in Colombia on Monday. It was the first meeting between the two men since Kerry assumed the post in early 2013.
“This is really hard for me, but I feel like I got good news that they talked to Maduro," Moon Holt told Fox News Latino."That he didn’t know anything about the case was a little disappointing.”
Venezuela authorities contend Holt was using his wife's apartment in Caracas to stockpile weapons and have suggested his case was related to other attempts by the U.S. to undermine Maduro's rule amid deep economic and political turbulence.
According to local reports, on the night of June 30 police found weapons in the house where the couple was arrested – a grenade, an AK-47 rifle and an M4 assault rifle.
Holt and his wife insist the weapons were all planted.
Moon Holt and her husband Jason Holt have been working with Senator Orinn Hatch’s office to push for Josh and Thamara’s release.
Hatch’s office told Fox News Latino in an email that Sen. Hatch received a call from Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday filling him in on his and Secretary Kerry’s efforts on Josh’s behalf.
Biden reassured Hatch they he would continue to do everything in their power to get Josh home as soon as possible. Sen. Hatch felt reassured by the administration’s level of engagement on the issue.
This week a resolution co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Mia Love passed in the House. It calls for the release of Holt and other "political prisoners" in Venezuela.
“I feel confident [that] Maduro’s going to work with Kerry and Biden and that he wants to build a better relationship with the U.S.,” Holt says.
Holt says her son, who has been experiencing poor health while in jail still hasn’t been seen by a physician. He’s suffering from kidney stones, a respiratory illness and has lost weight, dropping in pant size from a 40 to a 30.
Moon Holt hasn’t been able to communicate directly with her son for weeks. All the information she receives about him had been coming from Caleño Candelo’s mother, who, she says, was stung recently by a scorpion and has been unable to visit the prison where the couple is being held.
“Josh is really depressed – really struggling with being innocent – and hasn’t been able to spend much time with his wife since their honeymoon," Moon Holt told FNL. "He’s angry and struggling with his faith.”
A hearing on his case had been scheduled for earlier this month, but it was canceled after the judge failed to appear in court. A new hearing has been set for Oct. 11, but Moon Holt says she’s worried the same thing will happen again. She hopes the couple will be released before the hearing.
“We’ve stopped living," she said. "We want our lives back – Joshua more than anybody. We just wanted to put Josh’s case onto Maduro’s radar. Hopefully, they’ll be able to see he’s innocent from the reports and let him go,” Holt said.