WELCHES, Ore. (KPTV) — An 8-month-long nightmare for an Oregon man and his family has finally come to an end.
Troy Bachmann has finally been released from a Mexican prison.
His nightmare began last May, when the 48-year-old Bachmann was arrested and sent to prison for a crime he didn’t commit.
The Sandy High School graduate lost his business in Mexico while his employees emptied his bank accounts and accused him of not paying them. Police then threw Bachmann in jail.
Photos smuggled from the prison in Tepic offered a glimpse of the conditions, which Bachmann described as something resembling a concentration camp.
“Well I can only describe it as hell. It’s been hell,” Troy’s brother Derek told Fox 12 of the last eight months.
Derek worked tirelessly to free his brother, making sure his story was told, and even losing his job in the process.
Then this past weekend, the family’s nightmare ended.
“It was very surreal,” Derek said. “It took a few minutes to set in. Of course, the tears were already flowing.”
A picture taken moments after he was reunited with his wife and baby on U.S. soil over the weekend show the relief on Troy’s face.
“It was… I mean, the floodgates even talking about it now,” Derek said about the photo. “Um, it was… I can’t even explain how much joy and gratitude I had at that time.”
In October, a judge found Troy to be innocent. But his family says the D.A. of the prison filed an appeal, keeping him behind bars for even longer.
Troy’s stepbrother Tony Barnes told Fox 12 the good news is already spreading in Troy’s hometown of Welches, where his family runs The Fly Fishing Shop.
“One guy called just about 5:00 tonight and said, ‘Man, I just heard Troy’s out, and I said, ‘Yes he is. We’re all so happy,'” Barnes said. “I thought [the imprisonment] was wrong. You know, around here if a judge says you’re not guilty, they release you. To me, it should be the same wherever you go.”
Troy hadn’t seen his son since the child was 4 months old.
Derek said none of this could have happened without the help of Senator Jeff Merkley and his staff,
Sen. Merkley said Monday that he is overjoyed to know that Troy is back with his family, and wanted to thank his Mexican counterparts for helping to resolve the situation.
Derek noted countless others also helped the in the effort to free his brother, including, of course, the rest of his family.
“My wife went through hell with me,” he said. “And just picked me up when I felt like falling over.”
Derek said he and his brother will try to rebuild their lives, but noted his brother lost a lifetime of work.
“I mean it’s devastating. Over 20 years building a business,” he said. “Everything that he is, it’s all gone.”
While his business many be gone, the things that are truly invaluable, including freedom and family, remain.
More details about what specifically led to Troy’s release are expecting to come out in the coming days and weeks.
Anyone wanting to help support the Bachmann family can go to any U.S. Bank, where there is an account set up under the name “Friends of Troy” for donations.