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tv   Dateline  MSNBC  November 22, 2018 4:00pm-5:01pm PST

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engrained, true or not, will not go away, and tom and his children make a life as best they can. >> that's all for this edition of "dateline." i'm craig melvin. thank you for watching. i'm craig melvin. >> i'm natalie moralis. >> and this is "date line." >> i just can't imagine to be held in captivity. >> dad, just send the money. that's all they want. >> they have an american kid, a 14-year-old kid in the middle of the jungle. they're thinking they hit the jackpot. >> they were vacationers turned prisoners. a mother and son kidnapped by terrorists. >> we need million u.s. dollar for the lives of your family. >> 10 million from me? are you losing your mind?
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>> a harrowing international hostage drama. >> this is a big operation. this is not just rag tag people. >> anything can happen. there are no guarantees. >> can a father turn negotiator help bring them home? >> we prepared him for the worst. >> i'm getting worried. i'm getting so worried. >> a lot of people were praying for them. a lot of people were. hello and welcome to "dateline." they were on a dream vacation when suddenly a mother, her teenage son and a cousin were kidnapped by a group of men with guns, wanted money and lots of it. with the worldwide hostage drama be resolved before it was all too late. here with "heart of darkness" is keith morris. >> they lay in wait unseen under
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a thick green canopy armed to the teeth, immersed in their defiant extremist belief. hunting, stalking, deadly in this particular heart of darkness. it was the summer of 2011, a jungle clad island in the southern tip of the philippines where they had prepared the place and the news of the terrible deed committed here flashed halfway around the world and came crashing down out of nowhere on a modest working class family in lynchburg, virginia. >> i got a phone call from my mother. the first thing she said was they were kidnapped in the philippines. >> kidnapped? sherry hunter tried to wrap her head around the inconceivable. jerfa was her aunt. kevin, her 14-year-old son. they were due home from a philippine vacation. instead they were in the clutches of something horrific. >> i felt like i was in a dream. it wasn't real.
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>> i was thinking, what? >> her husband had stayed behind in lynchburg and was at work when he heard. >> you must have been terrified? >> yes, and plus impossible to think about it but pictures don't lie. >> they didn't. there they were on philippine television. incomprehensible images, jerfa and kevin's passport, the stricken residents they had been visiting, a small island at the tip of the philippines. 24er7 all kidnapped by boat in the dead of night. >> that doesn't happen to us. >> nobody thinks it's going to happen to us, right? >> yeah, but my wife's heart is in the philippines, it's her family. >> jerfa was born in the philippines and always was safe there. her oldest sister married a u.s.
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sailor and lived there. she brought her 16-year-old cousin with her. >> she was so excited about the opportunity. i remember she was -- she worked at little sears's picaesar's pi. she could get a job. >> her son josh went back to school to improve himself. from then on that was it, they were a family. she became a lab technician, haiko a maintenance man. they bought a house in the leafy neighborhood of lynch birg, virginia, and had kevin. the immigrant son became an all-american kid. he was 14 that summer of 2011, smart, studious and looking forward to the start of high school in the fall. >> he was a normal american kid. he likes pizza, hot dogs, burge burgers, hang out with his
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friends. >> they lift frugally, saved their money, which is how eventually haiko could afford his used mercedes sports car and jerfa and kevin that vacation to the philippines. that was good. now it was very bad indeed. >> when i first heard they were kidnapped the first thing that came to my mind is oh, my god, abou sayed. >> an extremely small but strong group as they fought to establish an independent state in the southern philippines. its braet and butter tomorrow had been kidnapped. he had taken hostages before. some were released, eventually, but some were beheaded. haiko was frantic. no idea what to do, where to turn. then that very day the cavalry
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came riding in. my boss called come into work, the fbi is here. >> what was it like, the fbi is paying a visit? >> this is really real. this is the real thing. >> we never know how families are going to react, obviously, but almost in every case they're in a state of crisis. >> mark thunder cloud was part of an fbi investigating unit. more than a dozen agents descended on the house, covered the windows, set up a surveillance system in haiko's kitchen. they knew a demand for ransom was coming. >> he's negotiating with someone who's selling his family. >> the fbi told me that my wife and my son are merchandise. >> that's kind of hard to hear. >> yes. >> we try to be very transparent with the families and we try to prepare them the best you can.
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>> did you prepare haiko for the possibility they would be executed? >> yeah, we prepared him for the worst. >> now there was nothing else to do except wait and then -- the phone rang. >> hello. >> hello. this is long distance from philippines. mr. -- >> a terrorist on the line and the pawns in question are haiko's wife and son. the negotiations have officially gun. coming up. >> we need 8 million u.s. dollars. >> ten million from me, are you losing your mind? >> dad, we need you to send the money. >> i'm getting worried, so worried. >> when "dateline" continues. or. get the immune support that gives you more with airborne gummies.
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4:11 pm're about to find out! you don't even know where i live... hello! see the grinch in theaters by saying "get grinch tickets" into your xfinity x1 voice remote. a guy just dropped this off. he-he-he-he. today. you need this bed. mr. heiko. >> yes, that's me. >> okay. we'd like to inform you that your family here with us. >> two days after his wife and child were kidnapped by ab abu sayef in the philippines, he got his first ransom call. on the phone a man who called himself mr. soh. >> he called me mr. linsman. i wanted to know what i can call
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you. i don't want to call you kidnapper, terrorist. give me a name. >> mr. soh was calm, business like, like he had done it a hundred times before. in fact, he was the voice for a violent separatist group which is known for executing prisoners. beheading them usually. >> we would like to tell you that we need 10 million u.s. dollar for the release of your family. can you hear me? >> and i just was thinking, are you losing your mind? who do you think you've got? just couldn't believe it. 10 million from me. >> why would they think haiko had ten million. perhaps they watched the internet. in lynchberg it was big news. and captured haiko driving his used mercedes coupe. >> there you are went away.
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i'm not a rich person but i will give whatever i can get together. >> okay. we need you to -- really from your family, okay? >> he was lucky in this, when mr. soh made his demands, some of the most experienced fbi hostage negotiators were right there listening in ready to point out to the right. these are general visual props. we have other questions related to kevin and gerfa that are important for him to consider. then we're going to write the notes down to haiko who would read it and be part of the conversation. >> where's my watch? talk to her, she's okay? where's my son? is she with you? can i talk to them? i want to know they're okay.
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>> mr. soh didn't say. meanwhile, fbi agents in the philippines were working sources on the ground. word was that gerfa and kevin had been taken to one of ab abu sayef's home to a base camp deep into what was nearly impenetrable jungle. >> we travel to talk with the politicians there. may have had some. >> go ahead, the fbi to help, but government money? no. >> you don't pay rent, the government doesn't pay rent. >> right. >> any decisions made regarding ransom, they're really made by the family. >> but it was actually to me no choice. i know i want to pay something just to make sure they're safe. >> the week after the kidnapping heiko --
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>> it's over but just wanted more and more and more. >> four weeks went by. mr. soh reduced his demand from 10 million to 1 million, still impossible, of course. >> so the kidnappers turned up the heat. they put kevin on the line. >> chad? >> yeah, how are you doing? >> we need you to send the money. >> i know that and i'm ready but all i will will be -- >> dad -- dad, just send the money. that's all they want. >> haiko maxed out his credit cards, borrowed money from whomever he could, but it never seemed to be enough. as the incident grows from weeks and months we end up with so many boards that we have to work our way down this hallway. >> daniel gersh was one of the hostage negotiators assigned to
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guide heiko. >> if it gets to the point where we're not making progress, he feels we're not making progress. >> i think that you have to hope, that's all what you have, hope. >> but hope was hard to hang on to. the kidnappers offered beheadings. >> sweetheart, what you doing over there? >> i know, honey. >> just tell them i don't have a million. please do that. >> stop. and i told them that you don't have anything but they are just like asking. >> how are you doing? i'm getting worried, so worried. >> a few seconds later the line went dead. >> oh, my god. [ bleep ]. spoken [ bleep ]. >> heiko, you need to be ready.
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>> the frustration must be pretty intense. >> frustration was immense. >> if he's not calm, then our hostage takers are not going to be calm. oftentimes i would have to tell heiko be quiet, let the hostage takers speak and then we would have a chance to respond. >> then what? how long before they were tired of the game and killed the two great loves of his life? >> i've worked these cases for years. >> i'm not waiting years, there's no way. >> heiko didn't have to wait that long. three months after gerfa and kevin were taken, there was a very different phone call and for heiko, it was terrifying. coming up -- >> she called me really, really sad and crying. >> i felt her dark place being a mother myself, and it was awful.
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>> when "dateline" continues. for adults who have type 2 diabetes and heart disease... ...and lower a1c, with diet and exercise. jardiance can cause serious side effects including dehydration. this may cause you to feel dizzy, faint, or lightheaded, or weak upon standing. ketoacidosis is a serious side effect that may be fatal. symptoms include nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, tiredness, and trouble breathing. stop taking jardiance and call your doctor right away if you have symptoms of ketoacidosis or an allergic reaction. symptoms of an allergic reaction include rash, swelling, and difficulty breathing or swallowing. do not take jardiance if you are on dialysis or have severe kidney problems. other side effects are sudden kidney problems, genital yeast infections, increased bad cholesterol, and urinary tract infections, which may be serious. taking jardiance with a sulfonylurea or insulin may cause low blood sugar. tell your doctor about all the medicines you take and if you have any medical conditions. isn't it time to rethink your type 2 diabetes medication? ask your doctor about jardiance- and get to the heart of what matters.
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it had been three months since an islamic military group had kidnapped heiko's wife and son. he had sent them $20,000, a fortune for him, and then the phone rang again. it wasn't mr. soh, instead even veteran fbi agent dan gersh was
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astonished. >> we received news that they were released. heiko is excited. i could see and hear joy. >> heiko could scarcely believe it as the news flashed across the philippines. his wife gerfa was alive and free and safe. so inexpressible joy and then gerfa called him and heiko realized the nightmare was starting. >> she was crying and where's kevin? >> he could hear the terror in her voice. they still had kevin and her cousin. they could kill them at any time they wanted. >> i felt her dark place just being a mother myself and it was awful. >> and before long her terror deepened when she learned her cousin got out, too, which meant that they're in an awful place.
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her 14-year-old son, no one left to protect him, was all alone. >> i remember seeing that picture of her that was in the news and she just looked so sad. she just looked so sad and helple helpless. >> this is gerfa, and here even five years later the memory is brutal. buy brought her back here to the philippines and asked her to tell us her story, the story that began at 2:00 in the morning at the end of a happy family reunion on a beach just about like this one. >> it does take you back. you know, you can hear the water, the waves. you can feel the wind. you see the evening sky, the stars. >> it was a beautiful thing. >> oh, it was a beautiful morning. suddenly i saw from the left side two men running really fast
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like on the sand with some kind of rifle. my first impression, it was some kind of robbery. i screamed for help. i was terrified. i've never screamed that loud in my life. >> gerfa rushed back to her hut, grabbed kevin, together they ran towards the beach, but they department get far. in an instant they were surrounded by several armed men in military fatigues. >> kevin was looking at me. he was in front of me and when suddenly someone kick him from behind. that violence right there, they were rough right away. it was like, why did they -- why did they kick my son? >> a motorboat suddenly appeared. the men pushed kevin and gerfa into it. shocked and frightened. gerfa looked up to see her cousin, not quite 22 years old and the father, holding onto it. >> he didn't care about his safety or his life, he was
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begging them to let me in. this is my family, my fate will be the same. >> though they took her cousin, too, she watched. >> you went from a feeling of incredible peace to the worst nightmare you could ever imagine. >> chaos. complete chaos. you try to control yourself. try to stay calm and how do you do that? >> it was early morning right after sun rise when they arrived at an island. they were made to sit hidden in the mangroves. take me, gerfa pleaded. let the boys go. with you in response one of the men raised his machete. >> i looked at me and said do you want me to cut your infidel's son already, behead him. >> i knew right then it was religious. it was more serious. this is more hostile. >> you could see the hatred in their eyes?
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>> i've never seen so much hate. >> gerfa had heard about them and their kid nangs, but she never thought for a moment that she could be a target. >> so would he stopped there and i couldn't stop it. the fear of death was so strong. we were surrounded by this army. there was no sign of rescue. we were on our own. >> night came. they were prodded at gun point to their feet and into the jungle. it had its own particular darkne darkness. >> it's like he's gone in the dark. >> then a light. the kird nappers seemed terrified by it and gerfa was ripp ripped. >> immediately someone stood
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close to kevin. i saw the silver rifle, the tip of it, went close could his forehead. at that point i just realized, i was like, oh, my gosh, i might lose my son that night. coming up -- >> were you ready to die? >> i was ready. i said, lord, thank you for the beautiful family you gave me. i said, if you want me to come home, i'm ready. >> when "dateline" continues. to historians, victorians, and all the targaryens. to gastronomers, astronomers, and new cinematographers. to wizards, to witches, to those who cross stitches. if you're a dreamer, big thinker, or discovery seeker. through these doors, more wonder awaits. nobody knows books like we do. barnes & noble.
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they just need the will. please join over six million americans and together we can give congress the courage to act. then, we can begin building a more just and prosperous future. i'm milissa rehberger, happy thanksgiving. thousands are helping those affected by the deadliest wildfires in california. and cold temperatures did not stop the crowds at the annual macy's thanksgiving day parade. millions of people turned out to watch the parade in what was the coldest thanksgiving in more than a century.
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back to "dateline." welcome back to "dateline." i'm craig melvin. kidnap victim gerfa had been residential released back to the country. what about her son and her cousin. >> in the dark of the philippine jungle surrounded by men with hate in their eyes, gerfa looked terrified at her 14-year-old n son. an approaching car had put kidnappers on alert and now one of them held an automatic rifle to kevin's head. >> i just said, don't move, son, while my entire body was frozen. >> then the car passed and they kept walking. and several hours later they arrived at abu sayev's base camp. this is where they were brought, to a cage in the jungle. not this cage.
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we actually built this one, but to the exact specifications given to us by gerfa, 5 feet by 5 feet. old broken boards for a floor, jungle sticks how he lashed out from this. a cage is as secure as any cage in any prison. there were guard tents on either side and right beside the cage a seemingly bottomless cliff planted with land mines, said their captor. >> i know you had been walking for like 36 hours or something. how did you feel? >> well, exhausted physically, spiritually, mentally. >> and then they present you with this? >> exhausted. and you see this piece of crap and this guy told us, get in. and you want to resist. you want to fight it because you know you're not an animal.
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>> this is gerfa's cousin, the young man who forced the kidnappers to take him so he could protect her and kevin. >> he takes the shorter place here. i will sleep here and kevin will take the longest area of the cage because he's taller. we cannot move. you take one spot and that's it. >> they sat in silence for bidden to speak. they were bit by bit starved, fed a little rice and dried fish, a single plate per day to share. and then one night about a week after they had been taken hostage the group's leader told gerfa about the price abu sayef had put on her head, that 10 million they demanded from heiko. >> i felt like my poddy
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collapsed. i knew if i could not convince him i don't have that money i will never see my family again. i looked up towards this heaven and there was this one star just blinking. one star up in that sky, i pointed and said, if they can get that star, my husband can give them $10 million. >> gerfa knew heiko would accepted all the money they had, even as the kidnappers squeezed him by putting his terrified son on the phone. >> dad, send the money. that's all they want. >> heiko didn't realize that the kidnappers were beating kevin as he spoke. gerfa was forced to watch, helpless. full of rage. >> hurt from head to toe.
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they're continuing to abuse him, but all it was doing, he was just listening to his dad because that was the safety zone. >> gerfa's cousin threw himself on kevin, tried to shield him. >> i'm sending him -- >> what i wanted to do is hug kevin, protect him. i wanted to take the beating. >> i cannot fight back. >> when it was over, kevin and gerfa were forced back into the cage, battered, there he was lying in the corner and not cry? it was just three of us? no one care about our feelings, how hurt we are. no one was there for us. >> if no one was coming to
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rescue him. then two months into their captivity the moment came. gunfire pierced the silence. the kidnappers grabbed their weapons and ran towards the front of the camp and tan impul impulse. >> there was no time to think. we have to go down that. >> head snirs. >> yes, head first holding onto the routes and the bushes. but then they heard a shout. one of their kidnappers had seen them. >> then he was screaming, they're escaping, they're escaping, they're getting away. by the time i got to lack. we march back into that cage. >> that tiny little cage, which must have felt like -- >> we know we going to die in at
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that cage. >> their captors were on edge for some reason. this was two months into gerpa's ordeal. 24er7 launching an offensive against -- they moved her to a farmhouse about a day's hike away and then one of them pulled gerfa from their cell. they were taking her away. >> at that point i was like, they're going to separate you. but she was convinced her time was up and she was about to be ready. >> i said, lord, thank you for the beautiful family you gave me.
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i said, if you want me to come home, i'm ready, but i want you to let these two boys, guide them out of that jungle. it's in your hand now. >> they put gerfa on a boat, put a bag over her body, but to her complete surprise, they didn't kill her. instead they dropped her off near a food bridge and i had no justification. it was worth the freezing. there was no freedom for me. >> she got in touch, back 234 lynchburg mike thaunt der cloud. >> her intend was to raise more
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money. shu she's out. someone needs to be there with her. >> heiko decided he should stay in lynchburg, try to find the money. mark thunder cloud moved his operations from the founder's kitchen to a hotel room in the village and there as one month passed and then another, they tried to help gerfa deal with mr. soh. >> december 7th. what you're offering is not enough. this might be the last communication we ever have. we've still expected calm. out of seventh, nothing, out of eighth, nothing, out of ninth nothing. a shock is waiting. "dateline" returns after the break. today, 97% of employers agree
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that skills like teamwork, attention to detail, and customer service are critical to business success. like the ones we teach here, every day.
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this bed. welcome back. time moves at a different pace for those living under duress. for heiko and gerfa, each in their own prison of pain, the focus was on their 14-year-old son kevin who was still being held captive for ransom deep in the philippine jungle. there was no way to know if his time was running out. here again is keith. >> heiko sat in his baron
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kitchen. his fbi friends with notes and equipment were long gone in a manila hotel room now with his wife who had no news about kevin at all. >> feeling helpless. totally helpless, useless. they're sitting here and hoping the best. >> that very day gerfa got word that the fbi wanted to see her. she rushed to the hotel room. >> when i opened the door they were looking at me so quiet, something happened. something happened to kevin. >> an fbi agent was holding the phone. on the line, the mayor of a small town on an island. it's for you, the agent told gerfa. >> the mayor said, mrs. lunsman. i was like, yeah? kevin is out! i said, what, what?
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it was just like chaos after that. i talked to him, i said, kevin -- >> hi, mom, this is kevin. i said, sounds so good. it was just a beautiful sound. that's my son. >> kevin was free, but how? >> that's the craziest. i didn't think it was ever going to happen. >> here he is, kevin lunsman now in his 20s and this is his amazing story, which began a moment before the kidnappers took his mom away and she leaned forward and whispered in his ear -- >> i remember words exactly. she said, you have to get home to your father. you have to get back home. and it made me realize that she might be thinking that she may not make it tonight. >> that she might be taken away, be zmild. >> yes. i just wanted to cry and i didn't -- i didn't want to lose
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her. >> soon after that they took his cousin away, too. >> he loved that. there was nothing more. it was just me. >> 14 years old, all alone in that darkroom of the jungle. when he finally slept, he had a dream. >> we were in a two-story house and i turned to my side and my mother's there and my cousin's there and then all of a sudden a barrage of bullets. all of these bullets are flying through and yet we're not getting hit. i turned around and my mother's gone and my cousin's gone. and the barrage of bullets have stopped, everything has ceased. i just realized, i'm alone again. even in my dream i'm always alone. >> he woke up, remembered his mother's words, get home to your dad, and he made a choice. >> i was going to get home. one way or another. >> how the heck would you do
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that? >> i was still unclear of that myself. i just had to wait. maybe one day they'd get careless. >> you would escape? >> yes. >> bit by bit he prepared. >> physically i tried to maintain, tried to get as much food as i could when they'd give it to me. sometimes do situps, pushups because if i ever did have to run i'd have to be somewhat in shape. >> and then he had an idea. the kidnappers allowed him to wash his clothes and hang them to dry outside the house. maybe if they were distracted somehow he could make a run for it, get to the ocean, catch a boat to the mainland. wishful thinking, he was guarded around the clock, but then one morning almost six months after he was taken hostage -- >> i woke up in the morning and i could hear no sounds. it was like a light bulb in.
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>> tune in to the voices working in his mind. >> one saying you should run, another you should stay. one was terrified, another knew what was waiting out there. freedom, walk to the edge of the house. and i looked at the creek and around the side and i could see no one. nothing. no movement. and after that i just bolted. >> kevin knew as many 14-year-olds do, water obliterates his route of escape. he picket his way down the tweet bed and into the jungle, and then he heard it, the bird call. >> it wasn't just a bird. this was more of an alert call that the terrorists use to communicate with another. i knew the signal had been put out there, i wouldn't be. i had to run. >> one of those moments in your
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life where you either grow up and deal with it or you decide to give up and stay a little boy. >> those are my two choices. are you going to panic or are you going to man up and are you going to try to get out of here? i chose option two. >> and so he ran all day into the thick black of the jungle night, his feet raw, his clothes ripped by unseen storms. >> it was harsh brush, thick thorns, anything. i would get through it, at any cost, even if it cost me my life, at least i tried. >> exhausted, he searched for a hiding place so inhospitable his pursuers wouldn't think to look there. he fell asleep in a mosquito infested swamp. when the sun rose -- >> i remember waking up and not smelling the aroma of the coffee
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brewed or fried reiss. i didn't smell any of that. i smelled freedom. >> at least for the moment, but where was he? >> at a point i kept going because i didn't know exact location. i had to keep walking. possibly get on the road. road, maybe i can find a different way. >> but there's danger because people might see you. >> yes. >> on this island, you don't know who's with them and who's not, right? >> right. >> it was a risk he had to take. and soon regretted. walking down the road, he heard a voice behind him. a man was approaching. and he had a rifle. coming up -- >> i escaped and walked through all of that terrain, and it was for nothing. >> he could take you away, take you back to those guys. >> i froze. i just thought this is it. >> when "dateline" continues.
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carla is living with metastatic breast cancer, which is breast cancer that has spread to other parts of her body. she's also taking prescription ibrance with an aromatase inhibitor, which is for postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive her2- metastatic breast cancer as the first hormonal based therapy. ibrance plus letrozole was significantly more effective at delaying disease progression versus letrozole. patients taking ibrance can develop low white blood cell counts, which may cause serious infections that can lead to death. before taking ibrance, tell your doctor if you have fever, chills, or other signs of infection, liver or kidney problems, are pregnant, breastfeeding, or plan to become pregnant. common side effects include low red blood cell and low platelet counts, infections, tiredness, nausea, sore mouth, abnormalities in liver blood tests, diarrhea, hair thinning or loss, vomiting, rash, and loss of appetite. carla calls it her new normal because a lot has changed, but a lot hasn't.
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ask your doctor about ibrance. the #1 prescribed fda-approved oral combination treatment for hr+/her2- mbc. welcome back. 14-year-old kevin had made a daring escape from his jungle kidnappers, but now, he was lost and running for his life deep in the heart of the jungle. here with the conclusion of our story is keith morrison. >> for two days and one long night, kevin could practically feel his captors's breath on his back, their guns in his back as
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they ran and somehow eluded them. >> all my clothes were covered in mud, black, blood, everything. my hair was ruffled. i smelled terrible. i probably had over 100 or more lacerations on my body. blood all over my arms. i didn't look too good. >> then he took that one necessary risk, emerged to a public road and there it was. the end. clearly, a local on this infested island, and he had a very big gun. >> i thought it was all over. i escaped and walked through all of that terrain, and it was for nothing. they had found me and they were going to bring me back. >> then the man spoke. and the words startled kevin. he was speaking english. >> and he was asking, do you need help? were you kidnapped? and i froze at that question again. i just thought, is this it? should i just tell him? >> he could go either way still.
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he could take you away, take you back to those guys. >> right. and i knew those risks, but at this point, i felt like i was going to put my trust in him. >> how did he react? >> he proceeded to say i'm going to get you out of here. i'm going to get you home. and my name is kenny. i'm here to help. >> my name is kenny. >> my name is kenny, like kenny rogers. exactly what he said. and it gave me a laugh. it was actually one of the first laughs i had in a long time. >> kenny got in touch with the mayor of a nearby village. the mayor called the philippine army. and the army arrived in humvees. >> seemed like hundreds of them. and i was like, this is all for me. i couldn't believe it. i realized i'm going to see my family again. i'm going to see my friends. i'm going to have my life back. >> but would he have his mom? for months, kevin had begrieving, afraid she had been executed by the militants. then the mayor gave him the phone and kevin heard a familiar
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voice. >> hey, mom. is that really you? i had no clue for months what happened to you. once i heard her voice and knew that was her and i think at that point i felt alive again. there was a color in my life again. >> after that 14-year-old's amazing escape, the u.s. military put him on a plane to manila where his mother was waiting on the tarmac. >> the doors are too slow to op open. i was ready to climb that plane and open that door. and he stood there on the plane right there looking around, like i'm right here. you know, like i'm right here. but he was just looking. and i was like, you don't recognize me. okay, must be the love. you have to stop crying. >> i see this woman and i could see tears. as i got closer and closer, i realized i knew who that was. we just ran up to each other and we just hugged each other.
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and it was just incredible. >> back in lynchburg, kevin's dad was delivering christmas turkeys to a hospital when somebody found him and gave him the news. >> i was so happy. your mind gets clear again. you don't have to be worried. and i will have my family back. and that just is a great feeling. it's a great feeling. >> on december 14th, 2011, six months after they were taken hostage, gerfa and kevin finally came home, returned to lynchburg to haiko and to gerfa's niece, sherry. >> it was awesome. the first thing we did was put up christmas decorations. kevin and gerfa was sour happy. i didn't know what to expect because of what they had been through, but they were so grateful to be back with their family. >> in 2012, the philippine army caught three of gerfa and kevin's kidnappers. gerfa returned to the
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philippines to testify at their trial and helped send her captors to prison. kevin was honored for his bravery by the virginia general assembly, and met president obama. then, kevin went off to college, got an idea about joining the fbi one day. >> he was there, you know, as a boy, and he came out as a man. >> you must be pretty proud of that boy. >> very proud. >> years that separate their ordeal from this evening on the beach with us have erased not a moment of the memory, the terror they shared. the pain, deprivation, sorrow, and finally, joy. but we look on and see a bond only they can fully understand. did you ever think you would actually be in this situation where you have your arm around your mother and the two of you are talking about this in the past tense with smiles on your faces? >> never. >> not at that point, no. we didn't think it was going to
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ever be possible. >> yeah. >> but here we are. >> and we're very glad to see you safe. >> thank you. >> wonderful. wonderful. >> that's all for this edition of "dateline." i'm craig melvin. thank you for watching. >> i'm craig melvin. >> i'm natalie morales. >> this is "dateline." she was there. >> she'd walk into the room and kind of brightened. >> and then she wasn't. >> my initial reaction was what happened. >> the mother they adored. missing. in her place, a trail of blood. >> my biggest fear was we were going to find her. >> what police found instead was a puzzle. >> in my 28 years, i have never seen that before. >> a missing woman. a mystery with few clues.


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