A never-before-seen photo has surfaced that shows a man believed to be Robert Levinson, an ex-FBI agent who was kidnapped in Iran nearly six years ago.
Levinson’s family reportedly released a total of five previously unseen pictures of the ex-FBI agent in captivity because they fear people in Washington and Tehran have not made his freedom a priority.
According to reports, Levinson’s family received the photos from the unknown captors in 2011. There are five different photos, each staged with a different disturbing message by his captors. In each, he holds a sign, one of which reads "Help me."
"They are very difficult to look at," Christine Levinson told ABC News. "Some of our daughters were crying to me about how upset they were to see them again."
Authorities, citing clues found in the pictures, believe Levinson is being held by al Qaeda, while others are certain he is Iran being held by a different group of captors.
Levinson, a private investigator, was on a business trip to the Iranian island of Kish in 2007, when he went missing, ABC News reports.
Since going missing in 2007, his family has put forth efforts into a worldwide campaign demanding that Iran set him free and even pushing U.S. officials in a meeting in the Oval Office last March to negotiate for him.
Levinson was last seen alive via a hostage video posted on the Internet a little more than a year ago.
"Please help me get home," Levinson says in the video. "Thirty-three years of service to the United States deserves something. Please help me."
Levinson’s wife, Christine, told reporters that the family held off posting these newly released photos for fear his fate would turn into a partisan campaign issue. But now that the photos are out, they are waiting for politicians to act.
While authorities are still lacking in solid leads that might suggest who Levinson is in the custody of, reports indicate that the U.S. government has repeatedly asked the Iranian government's help in finding him.
The Associated Press reported that intelligence officials suspect the Iranian government, specifically its intelligence services, was behind the production of the proof-of-life video and the newly released images.
My name is Carey Vanderborg and I'm a journalist working in New York City. I love food, travel, craft beer, live music and writing about all of the above.