PORTLAND (KPTV) — Nearly six months after she was arrested in Southeast Asia, a Portland veterinarian is headed back to the United States and due to arrive in Portland Wednesday, KPTV reported Tuesday.
New pictures on Stacey Addison’s Facebook page show her holding her passport and boarding a plane.
Addison has been out of jail for months, but she remained stuck in East Timor, an island nation between Indonesia and Australia, because her passport had been confiscated by authorities there.
Addison was arrested in September. Friends said Addison shared a taxi with a stranger who turned out to be a drug dealer.
When police stopped and searched the taxi, they arrested Addison along with the drug dealer.
Addison’s friends said Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley were instrumental in helping bring her back home.
In a statement Monday night, Sen. Merkley said it was a team effort.
“A huge thanks to Karen Stanton, our U.S. ambassador to East Timor, who has worked tirelessly to secure Stacey’s release from prison,” the statement reads. “A huge thanks as well to East Timor’s Ambassador to the United States, Domingos Sarmento Alves, and to other officials in East Timor who facilitated this wonderful outcome.”
Sen. Wyden also released a statement expressing his gratitude for everyone who helped secure Addison’s freedom.
“I am so happy and relieved to know Stacey is finally coming home from Timor-Leste to her loved ones in Oregon. Huge thanks are in order for Ambassador Stanton and everybody at the State Department who worked to bring this situation to a successful conclusion for Stacey,” Wyden said.
EARLIER FROM CNN:
Addison, 41, of Oregon, was released from an East Timor prison on Christmas Day, nearly four months after her initial arrest in the small Southeast Asian nation in a drug case in which she says she’s innocent.
Addison appeared before reporters Thursday at the home of former East Timorese President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jose Ramos-Horta, who says he’ll host her temporarily at his home.
Both she and Ramos-Horta said they would not discuss details of the case.
Addison was asked what she would do when she is able to obtain a passport. Her answer: “Go home.”
“I don’t think my mom would ever forgive me if I didn’t come home immediately and stay for a while,” she said.
Addison’s arrest in September 2014 was an unexpected bump in what had been a multi-year trip around the world.
She said she had been traveling solo since January 2013, having quit her job as a veterinarian to explore the globe. On September 5, she was sharing a cab from near the Indonesian border to the East Timor capital of Dili.
On the way, a fellow passenger asked to stop to pick up a package at a DHL office, her mother, Bernadette Kero of Oregon, has told CNN. After the man picked up the package, police surrounded the car and arrested the occupants, according to Kero.
The package was found to contain methamphetamine, Addison has said.
She initially was held for four nights, and a judge released her — but prevented her from leaving the country while the case was still being investigated — after the man testified that he didn’t know her, Kero said.
In late October, during a court appearance where she thought she’d retrieve her passport, a judge ordered her arrest again and sent her to Gleno prison outside Dili.
Paul Remedios, a lawyer representing Addison, said at the time that the court detained her again because there was a warrant for her arrest, and that the reason for the warrant was unclear.
Kero told CNN last month that the case was a “nightmare.” On Thursday, she said her daughter’s release was “the best Christmas present I could imagine.”
“The past four months have been an extremely stressful time for all of us,” Kero wrote in an email on Christmas Day. “Of course we are now hoping that her passport will be returned and she will be able to return home to Oregon very soon.
“Her lawyer will work on getting her passport released. I just want to be able to see her and give her a big hug.”