The Ottumwa Courier

AP National

June 5, 2014

Pair in Afghanistan video plea say they're parents

(Continued)

Relatives describe the couple, who met online as teenagers and wed in 2011, as well-intentioned but naive adventure seekers.

They once spent months in Latin America, where they lived among indigenous Guatemalans. The couple traveled in the summer of 2012 on a journey that took them to Russia, the central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and then to Afghanistan.

"They really and truly believed that if people were loved and treated with respect that that would be given back to them in kind," said Linda Boyle, Boyle's mother. "So as odd it as it may seem to us that they were there, they truly believed with all their heart that if they treated people properly, they would be treated properly."

With plans to return home in December ahead of Coleman's due date, they checked in regularly via email during their travels — apparently aware of the perils they faced.

The communications ended abruptly on Oct. 8, 2012. An Afghan official later told the AP that the two had been abducted in Wardak province, a rugged, mountainous Taliban haven.

New hope emerged last year when an Afghan man who said he had Taliban connections contacted James Coleman, offering first audio recordings and, later, the two email video files. Though the man said the recordings had been provided by the Taliban, he did not reveal what, if anything, the captors wanted and has not been in touch with the Colemans for months.

Meanwhile, the Boyles and Colemans regularly send letters in an effort to reach their children through a non-governmental organization, but haven't received a response. The Colemans live in Stewartstown, Pennsylvania; the Boyles live outside Ottawa.

The families have not received any ransom demands and there were no clear signs of motive for their being held, but officials said the mere fact they were Westerners may have been reason enough.

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