ABC News has learned that the U.S. soldier was identified as Travis King.
LONDON — An American soldier who had just been released from a South Korean detention facility fled across the border to North Korea where he was taken into custody this month.
Here’s what we know about the situation.
Who is the detainee in North Korean custody?
The soldier in question was identified as 23-year-old U.S. Army Private 2nd Class Travis King, according to a U.S. official. King has been a cavalry scout in the U.S. Army since January 2021 and has no deployments, according to service information provided by Army spokesperson Bryce Dubee.
King has received three medals while serving in the U.S. military: the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Defense Service Medal and the Overseas Service Ribbon. These medals are commonly received by American service members in Korea.
On Sept. 4, 2022, King failed to report for his daily formation and, when reached away from the base, stated that he “refused to return to post or America,” a U.S. official told ABC News.
At the time, King was serving as a cavalry scout at Camp Bonifas in northwestern South Korea, just south of the southern end of the Korean Demilitarized Zone, or DMZ, the heavily militarized border that separates North and South Korea. As a scout and because of where he was serving, King would have been aware of the risks in crossing the DMZ, according to the official.
The official said King was later found in Uijeongbu, a South Korean city some 25 miles southeast of Camp Bonifas.