U.S. Journalist Freed from Syria has Vermont Ties

By Christine Souders | csouders@nexstar.tv

Published 08/25 2014 07:47PM

Updated 08/25 2014 07:54PM

RIPTON, Vt. - We're learning more about the American author and journalist, held hostage for nearly two years in Syria, who graduated college in Vermont.

Peter Theo Curtis, 45, was released Sunday by Islamist rebels after he went missing in October 2012.

One of the last people Curtis had contact with before his capture was Tik Root.

Both Root and Theo Curtis graduated from Middlebury College, both are freelance journalists specializing in middle east affairs, and both disappeared in Syria

Root was first introduced to Curtis through a mutual boss.

Although Root has never met Curtis in person, he exchanged emails the days surrounding Curtis's capture in 2012.

"I was one of the last people to communicate with Theo before he crossed into Syria and was pretty quickly abducted," said Root.

It's also something Root can relate to.

As a junior in college during a semester abroad, on March 18th, 2011, Root disappeared in Syria as well.

"They thought I was a spy or journalist or who knows what," said Root.

He was detained and brought to an underground detention facility where he spent 14 days.

"I was hearing torture outside the door and I knew that was a possibility. They threatened me on more than one occasion. I was marched in front of Syrian state cable TV at one point," Root said.

Tik Root was released April 1st, 2011.

On Sunday, during a Red Sox game, Tik learned of Curtis's release.

He said it brought back a flood of memories, "That moment of coming home is just so special I think for both me and my family, and it's just very, very exciting that Theo and his loved ones are going to have that opportunity."

It's been a tense couple of weeks for journalists, especially those working in the middle east.

The beheading of James Foley, and now Curtis's release.

Speaking from his own experience, Root said it's an emotional time for his family.

"Our situations were on a much different scales. They have years of anguish and worry built up. It's all going to come flooding out. It's going to be very busy, hectic, chaotic, delicate time. But just enjoy it, get some sleep, and it sounds like they're running on a lot of great adrenaline."

And Root said he hopes to finally get to meet Curtis, now that he is coming home and lives to tell his story.

Curtis is expected to return to the states, and his home in Massachusetts soon.

Tik Root also passed on his sympathies to the Foley family, and added the work James was doing is very important.

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