In 2007, Levinson was working as a private investigator on the Iranian island of Kish. Shortly after his arrival, he was kidnapped and has yet to be found. The Iranian government has denied any knowledge of Levison's whereabouts, however U.S. officials believe the Iranian intelligence service is behind the disappearance. Wednesday marks the 2,132 day since Levinson was kidnapped.
Levison's family received emails in April of 2011 which contained photos of Levison, as well as a 54 second video. In the video, he says
"I have been held here for three and a half years. I am not in very good health. I am running very quickly out of diabetes medicine."
He went on to appeal to the United States government to “answer the requests of the group” holding him hostage.
According to an Associated Press
report, U.S. operatives in Afghanistan were able to trace the cellphone that was used to send the photos in April. However, the trail went cold after it was determined that the owner of the phone was not involved in the kidnapping.
The photos show Levison with a long beard and in chains. In each of the photos, he holds different signs. The family has released the previously unseen photos in an effort to bring more publicity to Levison's captivity. Their hope is that the publicity will result in the U.S. government making the search and rescue of Levison a top priority. The family says more than 4 years of being held hostage is unexceptionable.
Levison's wife, Christine, told Fox News'
Greta Van Susteren:
"I feel that there needs to be more attention to the case, and that is why I am putting the pictures out. I believe he is still alive. I believe he is spending every waking hour making sure that he is well enough to come home to us."
In September of 2012, Levison's family had a billboard put up in New York's Time Square announcing a $1 million dollar reward for the safe return of Levison.
In December of last year, a petition
was created on the White House's "We the People" website calling for the rescue of Levinson to be a top priority, saying
"It is the government's job to protect the lives of all US citizens; rescuing Levinson should be top priority right now for our country. He is greatly missed by his family and friends. Iran has been uncooperative and blocked investigations. We the people of the US wish to bring this man home no matter what it takes."
Mrs. Levison told The Telegraph
"There isn't any pressure on Iran to resolve this. It's been much too long. There needs to be a lot more public outcry. He's a good man. He just doesn't deserve this."