WPLG Local 10 News in Miami, Florida lost their contributor in Venezuela Wednesday.
Cody Weddle's mother still hasn't heard from her son after the Local 10 reporter was detained in Venezuela this morning. https://t.co/gCU8y3eYnR— WPLG Local 10 News (@WPLGLocal10) March 6, 2019
Cody Weddle’s sister, Kelsey McMahan, told Bristol Herald Courier that she believes the country’s authorities arrested him at 8 a.m. that morning after raiding his home in Caracas. Their mother, Sherry Weddle, said that the U.S. Embassy contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but have yet to hear back. She last contacted her son Tuesday on Facebook messenger.
"[I heard from him at] maybe about 6 or 7 yesterday evening and yesterday morning about 10," Sherry Weddle told CNN. "I asked him how he was doing. He said he was fine and wanted to know how I was."
She said to CNN that she was, "very, very, very worried," about him.
Weddle lived in Venezuela since June 2014, covering the economic turmoil, political struggle and humanitarian crisis in the area. One of his recent articles detailed the growing deadlock between political opposition leader Juan Guaido and President Nicolas Maduro as the National Assembly brought in a new board of directors for their oil sector. The new faces of the board consist of people who will give the opposition side more say in Venezuela’s government.
His last tweet since his disappearance shows him reporting to WPLG about Guaido’s return to Caracas.
The superintendent for Bristol Virginia Public Schools, Keith Perrigan, told The Courier that Weddle was a talented journalist back when he studied at Patrick Henry High School. At the time, Perrigan served as the school’s principal.
"Cody started a news show at Patrick Henry called PHTV," Perrigan said. "It was as professional a news show as you could imagine. He did a great job."
WPLG President and CEO E. R. Bert Medina said that the company will do what it can to get information on Weddle’s situation and find a way to get him back.
"We are working through various channels to get as much information as we can and to see that Cody is released." said WPLG President & CEO E. R. Bert Medina. "Cody has been dedicated and committed to telling the story in Venezuela to our viewers here in South Florida. The arrest of a journalist doing his job is outrageous and unacceptable."
U.S. politicians are also raising awareness about Weddle.
We have been informed of the detainment of Cody Weddle by his family, and I urge his swift and safe release by Venezuelan authorities. This is another example of an alarming trend of leaders across the globe cracking down on freedom of the press. https://t.co/Z9caltpejz— Mark Warner (@MarkWarner) March 6, 2019
It’s unconscionable that Maduro’s regime is detaining @WPLGLocal10’s Cody Weddle. A truly free society hinges on a responsible and free press. This is an affront to liberty and democracy everywhere.— Fla. AG Ashley Moody (@AGAshleyMoody) March 6, 2019