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State Lawmakers Urge Renewed Federal Help For Kidnapped Florida Man

There’s a Florida resident who’s been held captive for more than six years. And, the Florida Legislature is trying to get the attention of those in Washington D.C. to do something about it.

“What I want people to know is that there is still a hostage in Iran and that’s my husband Bob Levinson,” said Christine Levinson.

Christine is talking to “AC 360’s” Anderson Cooper about her husband, a now 65-year-old man, who is a father of seven and a grandfather of two.

Robert Levinson was visiting Iran for a short time as a private investigator when he was kidnapped in March 2007. That’s about six years ago, the second longest of period time an American has been held hostage.

"He is an American who has been in captivity one of the longest in U.S. History. He has missed weddings for his kids, grandchildren that he has not yet met..."

In the last couple of years, Christine and her family have received a short video and a few photos of her husband anonymously, believed to be from the captors—though it’s uncertain when they were taken.

But, as the years go by, there has not been any progress made toward getting her husband back to the United States. Christine says attention surrounding her husband’s disappearance is waning, and one state lawmaker is hoping to do something about that.

“Anything you guys can do to bring attention to this matter, the family is really looking for help. Thank you so much,” asked Representative Jared Moskowitz.

The Democrat from Coral Springs is speaking to a group of Florida lawmakers asking for their support of a Memorial he sponsored.  The Memorial (HB 1405) sends a message to President Barack Obama and Congress that state lawmakers want them to make use of all their resources to return Levinson home.

“The country of Iran has held him captive for more than six years now. He is an American who’s been in captivity one of the longest in U.S. History. He has missed weddings for his kids, grandchildren that he has not yet met. The resolution calls upon Congress, the United States, and the President to do everything they can to bring Mr. Levinson home,” said Moskowitz.

And, Michael Lattuca couldn’t agree more. The Florida State Student Senator is a friend of Doug Levinson, a son of the missing Robert Levinson. He spoke to members of the House Economic Affairs Committee earlier this month, during the Memorial’s last committee stop.

“It took them three and a half years before they even had contact with their father, and that was the first hostage video, and that was something that was extremely heart breaking to this family, as you can all imagine. And, my testimony is here in representation of this family, hoping that we can get sponsorship of this and bring it to national headlines where it deserves to be," said Lattuca.

So far, the Memorial has received bipartisan support with most of the members in the Florida House signing on as co-sponsors.

As for Christine Levinson, the wife of the missing Robert Levinson, she says no matter what happens, she and her family do not plan on giving up.

“We just keep working to get Bob home one day at a time. Hopefully, he’ll be home as soon as possible. I would like that to happen tomorrow. It hasn’t happened yet, but I would like it to be tomorrow,” said Levinson.

Just this month, newly-appointed Secretary of State John Kerry met with Levinson’s family to assure them the federal government is still working to locate Levinson, and return him to his family.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on twitter @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.