American Korean War Vet Detained in North Korea

An 85-year-old grandfather from Palo Alto, Calif., is being held in North Korea.

November 20, 2013, 1:50 PM

Nov. 20, 2013— -- An elderly Korean War veteran is being detained in North Korea after a trip to the country last month.

The man was identified as Merrill Newman, 85, of Palo Alto, Calif.,

The man Newman was traveling with, former Stanford University professor George Robert Hamrdla, told ABC News.

"There has to be a terrible misunderstanding. I hope that the North Koreans will see this as a humanitarian matter and allow him to return to his family as soon as possible."

According to the San Jose Mercury News, Newman was traveling with a group out of Beijing on a tour bus through North Korea. On Oct. 26, what was to be Newman's last day in North Korea, he was taken off of a plane set to leave the country and detained by authorities.

The United States Department of State refused to confirm the detention, but said the U.S. has updated its travel warning for North Korea, recommending against all travel.

"U.S. citizens crossing into North Korea, even accidentally, have been subject to arbitrary arrest and long-term detention," the department said.

Newman's family declined to comment to ABC News.

Newman is the second American to be detained in North Korea. The family of detainee Kenneth Bae has campaigned to have their son released to no avail.