Marine Corps Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi has been behind bars in a Mexican prison since March 31, when he made a wrong turn near San Diego and found himself on the wrong side of the border.
"In two years of combat duty in Afghanistan, I have never been so afraid in my life, and just on my knees praying to my Lord to protect him," Andrew's mother, Jill Tahmooressi, told Glenn Beck on Friday.
Shortly after Andrew, 25, was placed in La Mesa Penitentiary -- one of the most dangerous, notorious prisons in Mexico -- Jill said she got a call from her son that tore her apart.
"Mom, I'm not going to make it through the night," he said.
"What?" Jill replied.
"I'm not going to make it through the night," he repeated. "Whatever you do, do not come down here and investigate or ask questions. Mom, you'll be killed. You're not safe, either. Whatever you do, don't come down."
Fighting back tears, Jill said her "baby boy" was thinking about how to keep her safe when he was about to face his own death.
"Then the next day, I get a phone call. I'm thinking I've lost my child, but I'm praying so hard," Jill continued, her voice shaking. "It's totally different. [Andrew's] voice is uplifted. And he says, 'Mom, mom, I escaped ... I had to get out of there. They were going to rape me; they were going to torture me, and execute me. They showed me the stretcher. I was going to go out in a body bag.'"
Jill said her son referred to the gang threatening to rape and kill him as "hit men."
"So the Marine training that he had saved his life," she said gratefully.
Andrew was recaptured, but held in solitary confinement thereafter, rather than with the general population. Jill said his hands and feet were chained to a bed for 35 days. Last week, he was moved to to a maximum-security prison about 40 miles outside of Tijuana.
Jill said that her son was receiving treatment in San Diego for post-traumatic stress disorder, but had only been there a matter of days when, on his way to a dinner in San Ysidro, he got lost. Andrew had most of his belongings in his car at the time -- including his registered AR-15 rifle, .45-caliber pistol and 12-gauge pump shotgun -- since he was still looking for a permanent place to live.
Andrew is currently facing six to 21 years in a Mexican prison for carrying his firearms across the border.
Glenn Beck speaks with Jill Tahmooressi, the mother of U.S. Marine Andrew Tahmooressi, in a phone interview on his radio program May 16. Andrew has been held by Mexican authorities since crossing the border with three firearms on March 31. (Photo: TheBlaze TV)
Beck noted that people who don't live near a border sometimes don't understand how easy it is to end up on the wrong side, especially if you're driving at night and you're unfamiliar with the roads.
A Google Maps search shows the city center of San Ysidro to be only 1.7 miles from the Mexican border.
Late Thursday night, TheBlaze obtained audio from a 911 call Andrew made just before he was arrested, in which he said he didn't know exactly where he was but was concerned that he may have crossed into Mexico.
"It validates what I have been saying for seven weeks now, that my son didn't mean to be in Mexico," Jill said shakily. "It was an accident. And so certainly due process -- I'm just so prayerful that there will be due process and the truth will come and they'll release him."
Beck said heatedly: "We are a nation that is releasing rapists that come across our border. If we can't find it within ourselves to demand that Mexico releases one of our heroes for a mistake -- I swear to God America, I don't know who we are."
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