WASHINGTON (AP) — The married couple with a taste for exotic travel set out for Central Asia in the summer of 2012, moving as tourists through a region not normally visited by Westerners.
It was a risky venture by any standards, not least because the young travelers were expecting their first child. They crossed into Afghanistan where, one day, Joshua Boyle emailed relatives from a part of the country he said was unsafe.
The Oct. 8, 2012, message was the last anyone heard from the Canadian man or his pregnant wife, Caitlan Coleman.
Now, though, there's a new wrinkle in the story.
In two short videos received by Coleman's parents last year, Boyle and Coleman are seen calling on the U.S. government to free them and their child — who would be about 18 months old — from Taliban captors. The video files, which were provided to The Associated Press, were emailed to Coleman's father last July and September by an Afghan man who identified himself as having Taliban ties.
The videos offer the first and only clues about what happened to Coleman and Boyle after they lost touch with their families 20 months ago while traveling in a mountainous region near Kabul. But they leave unanswered basic questions, including the couple's whereabouts and their current welfare. And if she indeed had her baby, where is the child?
"I would ask that my family and my government do everything that they can to bring my husband, child and I to safety and freedom," the 28-year-old American says in one recording, wearing a conservative black garment that covers all but her face. Her husband, with a long and untrimmed beard, sits beside her.
U.S. law enforcement officials investigating the couple's disappearance consider the videos authentic but say they hold limited investigative value since it's not clear when or where they were made.