Pinecrest

For Sotloff family, quiet waiting for news of kidnapped journalist

 

ggarvin@MiamiHerald.com

It was a day of quiet waiting Thursday for the family of Steven Sotloff, a Pinecrest journalist abducted by Muslim jihadists in Syria who on Tuesday threatened to kill him.

“He’s still alive, so there is nothing to say,” his mother, Shirley Sotloff, told a crowd of reporters assembled outside the family home when she emerged briefly to shop for groceries.

Steven Sotloff, 31, disappeared a little over a year ago, shortly after crossing from Turkey into Syria to report on the civil war there.

His abduction by the fundamentalist rebel group Islamic State was kept almost entirely secret until Tuesday, when the organization posted a video of the decapitation of another American journalist, followed by footage of Sotloff and a threat to kill him next.

Kidnappings of reporters — usually for ransom or prisoner exchanges — have become a common tactic in the three-cornered civil war.

The New York Times reported Wednesday that the Islamic State demanded a ransom of 100 million euros (about $132 million) for the life of James Foley, the 40-year New Hampshire journalist whose videotaped murder was posted on the Internet on Tuesday.

Whether a ransom has been asked for Sotloff is unknown. But friends said he has called his family at least once — last December — since his kidnapping.

Miami Herald staff writer Matias Ocner contributed to this story.

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