Bakersfield man on trial in North Korea facing crimes against the state

Published 07/01 2014 05:01PM

Updated 08/26 2015 04:40PM

17 News has learned a man from Bakersfield is one of two tourists who will be prosecuted in North Korea facing crimes against the state.

The Bakersfield man's name is Matthew Todd Miller.   He and another tourist in North Korea were arrested separately and are accused of "perpetrating hostile acts."  Miller attended Bakersfield High School.   What he did to get arrested is not clear.

We know Miller was on a private tour in early April.   According to the North Korean state run media, he tore up his visa and sought asylum.   But, there has been no way to hear Miller's side of the story since the U.S. and North Korea have no diplomatic relations.

We went to Miller's parent's home in southwest Bakersfield Tuesday.   But there was a note on their door requesting the media not disturb them and they have no comment.   We respected their privacy.

The State Department Monday, stepped in.  Jen Psaki, state department spokesperson:  "There is no greater priority for us then the welfare and safety of U.S citizens abroad. Out of humanitarian concern for Mr. Fowle and Mr. Miller and their families, we request North Korea release them so that they may return home."

Jeffery Fowle is the other tourist facing trial.   He's a married father of three from Ohio, was in a tour group, and several foreign news agencies are reporting he accidently left a bible in his hotel room.  North Korea's churches are state run and any outside influence is a very serious crime.

It's what Korean-American Missionary, Kenneth Bay, was accused of last year.   He was sentenced to 15 years hard labor.

We tried reaching out to Congressman Kevin McCarthy Tuesday to see if he is stepping in with the efforts to get Miller and the others freed.   So far, we have not heard from his office.

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