BEDFORD COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – For a family in Bedford County, hope is fading for the return of their loved one they said is being held hostage in India.
Shelbyville Pastor Bryan Nerren has been stuck there since October and his family said the courts in India refuse to release him.
“He was supposed to be home on my birthday October 18th,” said Kevin Nerren, Bryan’s son.
96 days later, Kevin is still waiting for his father’s return.
“You can hear it in his voice that he is just broken. We’re all broken. Still trusting and believing in God,” said Kevin.
The nightmare began on October 5th.
Bryan, a Pastor, and his team of Christian missionaries landed 8,000 miles away in Delhi, India en route to a conference.
Kevin said his father was ready to make his connecting flight, when India officials stopped and questioned him for failing to declare funds he brought for the conference.
“When he landed in Delhi, there was nowhere to declare the funds until they saw the money,” said Kevin. “They fined him for $4,000. He’s paid the fine, he signed the papers under protest of course not admitting any guilt.”
Pastor Drew Hayes was there.
“We never imagined all of this would happen,” said Hayes. “That this would turn into this lengthy situation.”
Hayes said security let Bryan and the team go onto their connecting flight to the northeast India town of Bagdogra, but when they landed Bryan was arrested.
“We expected him to get out in a day or two – it took six days,” said Hayes.
Bryan has since been living in a nearby hotel, fighting for his release.
“I want to say thank you for all the prayers and love and concern you’ve had for my family and for me,” said Bryan in video message to supporters 38 days into being a hostage. “Your prayers are going to make the difference between me being here longer or me being able to come home.”
An unpredictable future Kevin said he strongly believes is the result of religious prosecution.
“It’s between the judges and customs may be a few at different agencies that they don’t want to be the one who releases the Christian pastor. They don’t want to be the one to let him go just because they’re that intolerant religiously.”
Kevin said all documents are now in place for his father’s release, but each hearing has been thwarted by something or someone, like customs officials refusing to show up in court.
Kevin urged supporters to call Tennessee lawmakers for his father’s release.