WEST PALM BEACH—The family of Steven Sotloff started a petition Wednesday to free their son who is being held captive and threatened to be the second American journalist beheaded by ISIS militants if President Barack Obama doesn’t end military air strikes against ISIS.
Anat Benarie, Sotloff’s former neighbor at the University of Central Florida, said she isn’t losing hope that her friend will return safely, but after seeing a picture of him in an orange jumpsuit next to a masked man, it has become nearly impossible to eliminate her negative thoughts.
“It is really hard and difficult to process what the potential outcome could be,” said Benarie. “It is not something I really try to think about or want to think about.”
The image of Sotloff, which appears at the end of the beheading video of American journalist James Foley, is the first time we are seeing the South Floridian after he was captured in August 2013 while working as a freelance reporter in Syria.
“He went out there to find himself and his profession,” said Josh Polsky, a college friend of Sotloff’s. “We’re certainly fearful for his life.”
“I think it is a shock to everyone,” said Benarie. “It seems so far away and you don't understand or realize that something like this can happen to someone you know. It is mind boggling.”
Click here to sign the petition.