Former Marine Corporal Jon Hammar, held in a Mexican prison for over four months on weapon charges and freed last month just before Christmas, has revealed following his release that he spent a lot of his time reading almost the entire Bible.
"I was dehydrated, malnourished, I had a lung infection, stomach issues, a number of things. I lasted the majority of time without getting sick, but up about the end I started getting a little bit ill," Hammar told Fox News host Bill O Reilly on Monday during the "O'Reilly Factor."
The 27-year-old combat Marine's ordeal began during a trip to Mexico last year with some friends, where they initially told American border authorities that they were taking a shotgun with them that they intended to use for hunting. The U.S. border patrol apparently told the Americans that they would be allowed to carry on as long as they had the proper paperwork to show the Mexican officials – but after that, things began going wrong.
After being forced to wait for several days for clearance from the Mexican authorities, Hammar's friends were released, but the veteran was taken to prison, where authorities apparently began trying to extort money from his relatives for his release.
Describing his ordeal in Cedes Prison in Matamoros, Mexico, Hammar explained that he was moved away from the general population and placed in a solitary jail.
"They call your family, they throw threats at you and your family, they tell you that 'we need your money.' There were threats on my life when I initially got there," he said.
When asked by O'Reilly if he put up a fight, Hammar said: "There wasn't much of a fight. They roughed me up a little bit."
In a previous report, O'Reilly noted that the Marine might have been threatened with decapitation from fellow inmates, something which Jon Hammar Sr., the corporal's father, admitted to.
As for how he spent his time in jail, Hammar shared that he read "The Last Stand of Fox Company," the story of a Marine in combat on the Korean Peninsula in 1950, as well as the Old Testament and almost the entire New Testament of the Bible.
"I didn't really think anything was working in my favor," Hammar added, noting that he was frustrated that authorities on both sides did not seem to be doing much in terms of working toward his release. He was also unaware that there was any media coverage over his ordeal until about a month before his eventual release.
Despite his ordeal, Hammar concluded that he holds no bitterness against Mexicans, and described the country as a "great place." "I really wish, like everywhere, that it can get its act together.
MediaBistro noted that Hammar was originally scheduled to speak with O'Reilly earlier this month, but cancelled due to emotional distress.
Jon Hammar Sr. appeared in his place instead, and revealed that his son might have to hold back some of the information of what happened at the Mexican prison in order to keep his family safe.
"He's gone over with us what's appropriate for him to say publicly, and it's a scary situation – he doesn't want to bring any danger onto his family or himself in the future, and it's a tough situation down there because you are dealing with quasi-authoritative people and you are dealing with the Mexican authorities, so you're not really sure who you're dealing with," the father explained.