Travis King, the U.S. Army private who bolted into North Korea, is reportedly being detained for desertion and other charges, including assaulting fellow soldiers and possession of child pornography.
Background: King, 23, made headlines in July after “willfully” crossing into the hermit state during a civilian tour of the Joint Security Area in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). He was previously set to return to the U.S. to face disciplinary action over an assault conviction in South Korea.
After completing its own investigation, North Korea released King back to U.S. custody last month. He subsequently underwent medical evaluation as part of his reintegration process.
Charges: King is now facing eight charges, according to reports. These include desertion, assaulting fellow soldiers, possession of child pornography, disobeying a superior officer, unlawful possession of alcohol and making a false statement, among others.
King remains in pre-trial detention. As of Wednesday, he was reportedly held at Fort Bliss in Texas.
What his family is saying: In a statement, King’s mother, Claudine Gates, said she is “extremely concerned about his mental health” and asked for him to “be afforded the presumption of innocence.”
“The man I raised, the man I dropped off at boot camp, the man who spent the holidays with me before deploying did not drink. A mother knows her son, and I believe something happened to mine while he was deployed,” she said.