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July 16, 2019

Laurie Holt, whose son Josh Holt was imprisoned in Venezuela for 2 years, dies

February 11, 2019
FILE – In this July 13, 2016 file photo, Laurie Holt holds a photograph of her son Josh Holt at her home, in Riverton, Utah. (Rick Bowmer / AP)

Laurie Holt, the mother of a Mormon missionary who was jailed without trial for two years in Venezuela before being returned to his family last May, has died.

The family announced her passing in a Facebook post.


“We are devastated to announce the tragic passing of our sweet Mama Bear Laurie Holt this morning,” the family said. “She had a gigantic heart and we will miss her dearly. We ask for privacy as we mourn her passing and will provide more details on funeral arrangements as soon as possible.”

Holt had gone to South American to marry Thamara Caleno, a Mormon he’d met online, and they were arrested soon afterward, charged with stockpiling weapons. He denied the allegations and was locked up with hardened political prisoners.

Laurie Holt famously championed her son’s innocence and drew attention to his case with rallies, fundraisers and media interviews, according to ABC4 in Salt Lake City. When he and Caleno were released, she called it a miracle.

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