On his way home after four months in a Mexican prison, Marine veteran Jon Hammar had to make a stop in a Louisiana hospital.
The 27-year-old former Marine, who was held since August in the notorious Matamoros prison, apparently suffered a bad chest cold stomach virus and was briefly hospitalized in Louisiana.
Hammar is making his way back to Florida after a four-month ordeal that started when he attempted to enter the country with what Mexican authorities say was an illegal firearm. His family says the shotgun was a family heirloom.
The veteran’s father picked him up at the prison Friday after he was released. The two are returning to Florida to spend Christmas with the family.
Last week, it was unclear whether Hammar would make it home in time for the holidays.
Hammar was headed to Costa Rica in August when he drove across the Mexican border with a friend. U.S. authorities told him he could declare the unloaded shotgun at the border. But reports say Mexican authorities held him until they determined there was no intent to commit a crime.
The case got national attention after the family pleaded for his release and several lawmakers, including Florida Senator Bill Nelson, a Democrat, and U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla, urged the State Department to step in and help Hammar.
Hammar’s mother said she’s relieved the nightmare is finally over.
"[I am relieved by] the thought of not wondering what’s going on with him, can anyone hurt him tonight...” Olivia Hammar said. “He’s eating... I honestly cannot process it until he’s here.”
With reporting from The Associated Press.