- Associated Press - Monday, December 12, 2011

LYNCHBURG, Va. — The father of a 14-year-old boy who escaped from suspected al Qaeda-linked militants in the Philippines said his son is a hero.

Heiko Lunsmann said he is proud of his son, Kevin. He told WSET-TV that the last five months have been difficult for the Campbell County family.

Police officials said Kevin escaped Friday and wandered without shoes for two days in a southern Philippine jungle before villagers found him. He is expected to be reunited with his family soon.

Kevin, his mother and a Filipino cousin were vacationing with relatives on an island near Zamboanage City when they were snatched July 12. The mother was freed two months ago and the cousin escaped last month.

Heiko Lunsmann said friends gave him strength to hope during the ordeal.