- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

REDONDO BEACH, Calif. (AP) - After 32 months of worrying whether they would ever see him alive again, a Redondo Beach family was elated and exhausted Wednesday, 24 hours after learning their son, author Michael Scott Moore, had been freed by Somali pirates.

So was Moore, who was kidnapped shortly after arriving in Somalia in 2012 to research a book he planned to write on high-seas piracy, said his stepfather, Louis Saunders.

He was released Tuesday and flown to the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.

“We don’t know a lot except he’s been released. He’s being checked out for his health, and then he’ll be flying out of there,” Saunders told The Associated Press during a brief interview outside his home on a quiet street a couple miles from the beach.

“He’s feeling great to get out, as you can imagine,” he added.

A pirate commander told The Associated Press negotiators paid $1.6 million for Moore’s release. A German foreign ministry spokeswoman would not confirm that statement.

Moore, who grew up in Redondo Beach, is German-American and had been living in Germany, working as a correspondent for the publication Spiegel Online when he was abducted.

His mother, Marlis Saunders, who spoke briefly with him after his release, declined to be interviewed Wednesday.

The couple had brief phone conversations with him over the years, her husband said, as his captors sought to prove he was still alive. Still, he added, they were startled and elated when word came Tuesday that he was actually free.

Moore is the author of “Sweetness and Blood,” a definitive volume on surfing culture, and the coming-of-age novel “Too Much of Nothing.”

“A book about piracy has the same appeal to me as the surf book,” he told The New York Times before leaving for Somalia. “It has the same clash between hard fact and clichéd mythology.”

His stepfather said he expects he’ll want to get back to his writing as soon as he can. “He’s a pretty strong-willed guy,” Saunders said.

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