Minnesota parents fear for son detained by Russian forces while fleeing Ukraine: 'My worst nightmare'

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A Minnesota mother and father spoke out Friday on Fox News Channel after their son was detained by Russian forces while attempting to flee the Russia-Ukraine war.

John Quinn, the father of Tyler Jacob, told "Fox & Friends" on Friday that his 28-year-old son moved to Ukraine in November to teach English as a second language to Ukrainians. He said Jacob was "having the time of his life over there until the war started."

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He was living with his wife and her 11-year-old daughter in Kherson. Quinn said he got a call from his son this past Saturday morning that he would be taking a bus to Crimea to get out of the city, where heavy fighting has taken place.

Tyler Jacob, held by Russian forces after fleeing Ukraine.

Tyler Jacob, held by Russian forces after fleeing Ukraine.

"He said what should I do? I said if it was going anywhere else I would say absolutely, but Crimea is Russian-controlled. I wasn't so excited about it," Quinn told host Steve Doocy.

Quinn said his son was tired of being holed up at home in Kherson and not being able to do anything as the war was going on, so he made the decision to leave. 

A damaged building is seen, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Kharkiv, Ukraine March 14, 2022.

A damaged building is seen, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Kharkiv, Ukraine March 14, 2022. (REUTERS/Oleksandr Lapshyn)

Jacob was trying to get from Crimea to Turkey but was detained by Russian troops at a checkpoint in Armiansk in northern Crimea. Quinn said he saw the interaction between Jacob and Russian forces captured on video. Russian forces were questioning Jacob. 

"They were just asking him where he was going, what the whole plan was, there isn’t really too much voice of what Tyler said, and it’s heartbreaking," Quinn said, after noting that Jacob was the only American on the bus when he was detained.

Jacob’s family fears that he is being used as a propaganda tool. 

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Earlier on "Fox & Friends First," Tina Hauser, Jacob's mom, said the last time she heard his voice was early Saturday morning and received a text message about four hours later. 

The State Department sent out petitions to the Russian government in an effort to track down Jacob. Hauser said that she has been in touch with Jacob’s wife and she is "very worried and scared for him right now."

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"It's not very good, but they're hanging in there. We're trying to figure out how we can get her out of there with her daughter too," Hauser said.

Hauser was informed by the U.S. Embassy in Moscow that her son was the second U.S. citizen to be detained by Russian troops during its invasion of Ukraine.

Firefighters work at a site of a fire, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv, Ukraine March 16, 2022. REUTERS/Oleksandr Lapshyn

Firefighters work at a site of a fire, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv, Ukraine March 16, 2022. REUTERS/Oleksandr Lapshyn (REUTERS/Oleksandr Lapshyn)

"It scares me, and it makes me very angry because he didn't do anything wrong. He was just trying to live a life with his wife there and help others with his teaching skills. And it scares me like, no, tomorrow my worst nightmare is coming true that I may never see my son again," Hauser said.

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Jacob's family has been in touch with Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., to get help in finding their son. Klobuchar’s press secretary said Wednesday there was no update in the case. The State Department said it’s aware of the report, but has no further comment, citing privacy considerations," according to the New York Post.

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