30 March 2022
WINONA, Minn. (CNN/WCCO) — A Minnesota man detained by Russia while trying to flee Ukraine is back home safe.
Tyler Jacob had a surprise reunion with his family in Winona.
His mom had no idea he was coming back home. Jacob’s wife and dad and the team at CNN helped organize the reunion.
Jacob, who was teaching English in Ukraine, was held by Russian soldiers for 10 days. They believed he could be a spy.
“The Russians believe in this myth that 007, the legend, his cover story is being an English teacher. So they thought that I was the legend,” Jacob said. “The first two days weren’t so great, but once I got to the jail … they were absolutely perfect to me. As much as I’d like to say Russians are bad people for invading a sovereign country, these people were some of the nicest people I’ve met.”
“I did think the worst. I was so fearful that he was going to be tortured and killed. And to get the news that he was safe and was going to be released was the biggest joy in my life,” Tina Hauser, Jacobs’ mother, said. “And now to have him sitting next to me and in my home with me is the biggest Christmas present I could ever ask for.”
Jacob’s wife and daughter are not back in Winona quite yet, but he told CNN that they expect to be reunited again soon.