Update: The soldier who fled to North Korea to avoid punishment by the U.S. Army has been charged for numerous crimes.
Private Travis King has been charged with crimes associated with his desertion as well as crimes that occurred before he crossed the DMZ, such as an assault and solicitation of child pornography.
King had faced two allegations of assault in South Korea. According to Reuters, he pleaded guilty to assault and destroying public property after an incident where he damaged a police car during a profanity-laced tirade against Koreans.
King chose to spend more than a month in a South Korean jail instead of paying a fine for his crime.
After his release, he was supposed to go back to the United States to face military disciplinary actions but chose to flee to North Korea instead.
Court documents reveal this was not his first to escape from military custody. He fled custody in October of last year.
The court documents also revealed he faces charges for solicitation and possession of child pornography stemming from his use of Snapchat in July of 2023.
In addition to being accused of possessing child pornography, he is accused of soliciting a Snapchat user into “knowingly and willingly produce child pornography.”
October 3 – Pvt. Travis King, the soldier who ran across the DMZ into North Korea was reunited with his family over the weekend at Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas.
The 23-year-old soldier returned to the U.S. last week after North Korea expelled him from the country.
“Private King arrived … early in the morning to San Antonio, where he will be going through a reintegration program,” Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said. “He’ll be going through medical screenings, medical evaluations and then he’ll be meeting with professionals to assess his emotional and mental health … and he’ll be meeting with counselors.”
King will also be getting debriefed by U.S. military officials about what occurred while he was in North Korea and what kinds of discussions he might have had while there, Singh added.
While serving in South Korea as a cavalry scout, King faced disciplinary action. He was scheduled to fly back to the United States to face additional administrative action through the Army. Instead of boarding a plane to return to the United States, however, King left the airport on his own.
On July 18, he joined a tour group of the Joint Security Area at the demilitarized zone in Panmunjom, Korea. While on that tour, King crossed into North Korea.
He was held by North Korean authorities from July 18 through Sept. 27 – just over 70 days.
Singh said that right now there is no word from the Defense Department regarding what additional disciplinary actions King will face through the Army now that he has returned home, Todd Lopez from DoD News reported. Instead, she said, the department is focused on his health and well-being.
“Right now what we are focused on is making sure that he is healthy,” Singh said. “I was told he was in good spirits when he was getting on the flight to return home. Going through the reintegration program is something that’s going to take time. So we’re really focused on his health [and] reuniting him with his family.”
According to ABC News, King is assigned on temporary duty orders to Joint Base San Antonio while he completes the reintegration process.
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