In 2020, Robert “Bob” Levinson’s Family Released Statement Saying He Has Died
By Kevin Deutsch
Marking the 15th anniversary of Bob Levinson’s disappearance, U.S. Representative Ted Deutch paid tribute to the longtime Coral Springs resident this week, saying officials “have continued to fight for justice and accountability for Bob and his family” after his presumed death.
In 2020, Levinson’s Coral Springs family announced they and U.S. officials had been forced to conclude that Levinson, the 72-year-old retired FBI agent who disappeared in Iran on March 9, 2007, was dead.
Levinson was the longest-held hostage in U.S. history. The FBI had offered a $5 million reward for information leading to his safe location, recovery, and return. His body has never been recovered.
“March 9 marked fifteen years since Bob Levinson disappeared from Kish Island, Iran,” Deutch, who represents Coral Springs and Parkland, said in a written statement Thursday. “Fifteen years since his family last heard his voice. Fifteen years of his children and grandchildren growing up. Fifteen years without closure for his incredible wife, Christine.”
Deutch, who announced last month he is giving up his seat in the U.S. Congress to become the Chief Executive Officer of the American Jewish Committee, took office in 2010 when Levinson had been missing for three years.
“Bob was the longest-held American hostage,” the congressman said. “And just a couple of years ago, we learned the devastating news that Bob had likely passed during his captivity. But we have continued to fight for justice and accountability for Bob and his family: for Christine, for his seven remarkable children, and his many grandchildren he will never get to know.”
“It has been my great honor to know them and to serve as their voice in Congress,” Deutch added. “They motivate me every day to speak out for each American family enduring this hardship, and they inspired me to co-found the Congressional Task Force on American Hostages and Americans Wrongfully Detained Abroad to ensure that Congress’ commitment to those families is strong and long-lasting.”
Deutch said he was grateful to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken for “tak[ing] seriously the importance of returning American hostages and speaking out against Iran’s use of wrongful and unlawful detentions.”
He added that Iran “cannot continue this despicable practice, and for all my remaining days in Congress, I will continue my work with the Biden Administration to implement the Robert Levinson Hostage Recovery and Hostage Taking Accountability Act to support families of those taken hostage or wrongfully detained.”
The law, named for Levinson, passed in 2020 and authorized the sanctioning of people complicit in hostage-taking.
“We will continue to work to bring closure to the Levinsons and bring every American home,” Deutch said.
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- Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.
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