Shreveport, La. - After a long, difficult process a local family finally hears the news they've been waiting for. Zach Wilson, the Keithville man detained in Guatemala will be returning home soon.
Wilson has been detained in Guatemala for seven months now after he traveled there on a mission trip. His last court date was pushed back until February. At this point, his wife Lisa said she was actually planning to move to Guatemala with her two sons just to be with him. She was going to leave this Thursday, when yesterday she got a call from Zach saying he's coming home earlier than expected.
He called Lisa first with the amazing news and then he told their two sons over the phone. In a video Lisa recorded on her phone, you can see them reacting with pure joy and their first question to their dad was, when will you be here?
"He was crying and laughing. I just cried and cried and cried. It was the best news we've heard in seven months," Lisa Wilson said.
Lisa said the road to now was filled with ups and downs. Especially with Zach suffering from severe ulcerative colitis and not receiving the proper medical treatment during his time in Guatemalan prison.
"We would have good news then we would have really hard news and we just stood on our faith and kept praying that God would deliver him and he did," Wilson said.
Zach appeared before the same Guatemalan judge on Monday, who originally pushed back his court date to February. However, this time the ruling was much different and his sentence was suspended.
He was detained back in March at the Guatemalan airport on his way home for having bullets in his carry-on. Which he said he mistakenly left in there from a previous hunting trip. He was put in the Pavon Prison and his disease quickly worsened and nearly cost his life.
"A lot people got involved and stepped out to help us. Congressmen Mike Johnson and Senator Bill Cassidy. I think it helped get the word out. The government getting involved help put pressure on the Guatemalan government to move this up sooner," Wilson said.
Their son said "if he can't come to us we will go to him." Since the family was going to soon move there while they wait for Zach's next court date. Lisa said she was packed and ready to go when she got the surprise news from Zach. She calls it a sign from God, confirming their strong faith.
She also said there's a few things he wants to do first when he returns.
"He wants to see his family of course. But he wants to sleep in his own bed and he wants Johnny's Pizza," Wilson said.
Lisa said Zach is doing better with his ulcerative colitis and once he can see his own doctor they'll check for any long-term damage.
She also thanks Congressman Mike Johnson for his help. Johnson sent the statement, "We have been working very closely with the Guatemalan government to obtain the timely and healthy release of Zachary Wilson. We are incredibly thankful everyone's hard work has paid off, and he will be home this year. I am grateful for all of the effort put in by Ambassador Espina and U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala Todd Robinson, and their staffs. I look forward to welcoming Zach home very soon."
Senator Cassidy who helped with Zach's release reacted to the news today as well.
"We're so pleased about Zach Wilson. Mike Johnson and I met with the Guatemalan ambassador who was incredibly helpful and we have been in close contact ever since," Senator Cassidy said.
Zach's family said they plan to host a big welcome home ceremony at the Shreveport airport when he flies in.
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