CORRECTION: Folsom family mistakes sailor in Navy picture as their son

6:48 PM, Jan 12, 2012   |    comments
Navy sailor hugs Iranian sailor after assisting in his rescue.
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UPDATE - New information drastically changes a story News10 first reported Sunday.

The Folsom family of a Navy sailor said the person seen hugging an Iranian fisherman is not their son, Seaman Colton Ziebarth, as they initially told News10.

A family in Stockton saw the original story and contacted News10 reporter Natalie Sentz on Tuesday to alert her of the situation. Sentz spent several days investigating while members of both families remained equally convinced the man in the picture was that of their son.

The family in Folsom humbly apologized and confirmed that after they made several checks of their own, they found the person in the picture is not their son.

As of this report, Navy officials have not confirmed the identity of the man in the picture. Public affairs representatives say it could take them a while before being able to confirm, as they have to speak with officials aboard the USS Kid and handle situation internally before offering more information.

We'll provide updates to this story as more information becomes available.


A picture of a Navy sailor from Folsom hugging an Iranian fisherman is being shared across the world.

Seaman Colton Ziebarth, 20, is one of several U.S. Navy sailors credited with rescuing more than a dozen Iranian sailors who had been held at sea by a band of pirates for weeks.

RELATED STORY: U.S. Navy Rescues Iranians from Pirates

"When I zoomed it in, it was like, oh my goodness, that's my son," said Lisa Tomiak when she saw the picture of her son. "And Colton is a big hugger!"

Tomiak says she received an e-mail from Ziebarth Sunday morning. In it, he described how he arrested 3 pirates with zip-ties and took another to the ground because "he was resisting."

"Initially, he didn't think much about the picture. But, I e-mailed him back and said, it's been everywhere! I don't think he thought it was going to be that big of a deal."

The picture of Ziebarth hugging the Iranian fisherman has been shown on ABC World News and several other news agencies throughout the world.

"It makes me proud that he's that type of person that not only is heroic, but very caring."


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