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Mother dies less than year after son released from Venezuela prison

February 12, 2019
Laurie Holt holds a photograph of her son Josh after he was imprisoned in Venezuela in 2016.

The former Pocatellan whose son spent two years in a Venezuela prison has died.

A message posted Sunday on Laurie Holt’s Facebook page stated that she has passed away.

The statement read, “We are devastated to announce the tragic passing of our sweet Mama Bear Laurie Holt this morning. She had a gigantic heart and we will miss her dearly. We ask for privacy as we mourn her passing and will provide more details on funeral arrangements as soon as possible.”

The Holt family has not yet provided a cause of death for Laurie.

Laurie’s son Josh Holt was held for two years in a Venezuela prison for allegedly trying to topple that country’s government — allegations he’s vehemently denied.

Josh’s wife Thamara “Thamy” Caleno was also imprisoned by Venezuela authorities.

Josh and Caleno were released by the Venezuela government in May 2018 and returned to the United States where they received a hero’s welcome when they got back to the Holt family home in Riverton, Utah.

Laurie gave birth to Josh in Pocatello and the family spent much of Josh’s childhood in the Gate City before moving to Utah.

Former Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch tweeted on Sunday, “In my entire Senate service there’s no memory I cherish more than seeing Laurie hug her son Josh when they were finally reunited. Our hearts ache at news of her passing.”

Josh Holt tweeted, “I love you so much mommy, you will be missed more than you know!!!!”

A GoFundMe account has been set up for the family. Here is the link to the GoFundMe account: https://www.gofundme.com/f/laurie-holt

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