Emotions overflowing for McCoy's girlfriend, family
Nervous, anxious, worried and angry were the adjectives used by Casey McCoy's girlfriend, Lacie Packard, when asked how she feels over his situation of being stuck in the West African country of Togo?
"And when the sun goes down, I'm scared," she added.
Packard traveled with McCoy to Lomé, Togo in West Africa to attend the wedding of McCoy's best friend and boss, Tyler Grinder, on Dec. 17.
"Some people told us we were crazy to go," Packard said. "But we wanted to experience different parts of the world and we had a chance to go there. If not for Casey testing positive, I wouldn't have regretted going there. Many of the people over there were nice and treated us very well."
After the wedding of Grinder and his bride, a native of Togo, McCoy and Packard booked a flight to Dubai for a little vacation. Before taking the flight, McCoy tested positive and then tested negative two days later.
"So, we then decided to change plans and come back to the United States," Packard said. "But they basically made him test again and started all over and requested a 10-day quarantine. Casey made me go back home because he didn't want me to take a chance of getting COVID over there and he thought it would be better for me just to get out of there."With Packard's 10-day visa expiring the next day, Packard prepared to board a plane.
"A guard told me my visa was already expired and I told him it didn't expire until the next day," she said. "He again told me it was expired and I would have to pay 40,000 TDS ($35 in U.S. currency)."
After getting some cash, Packard clutched the money tightly in her hand to pay for a new visa so she could home. The guard grabbed the money right out of her hand.
"He told me it was for him," she said. "He just kept the money himself and let me go. That's how a lot of them are like over there. They just demand money for everything and if they get it, they look the other way. That's why I think Casey is still there. I believe they are making money from the U.S. by holding him there, but what we aren't sure of is how or who they are getting money from."
McCoy's mother and stepfather, Lois and Vernon Heald, have been trying to get some answers, too. Vernon found the number online for the U.S. Embassy in West Africa and called to let them know what is going on. Grinder, who is staying a few miles away in order to visit McCoy as often as he can, also contacted the U.S. Embassy and demanded some answers.
Personnel from the U.S. Embassy then visited McCoy, but told him that there isn't much they can do, but they would try to do something.
"It's really frustrating," said Packard. "There are so many things we don't know and no one will talk. We don't know how much longer this will go on because no one will let us know. Every time Casey takes a test, he gets a different answer on when the result will be available or that he needs to take another test. It's the fear of the unknown that is draining on us."
Fox News aired a short story on McCoy's situation and spoke to him via Facetime. But Casey's story is much bigger than the two-minute version that aired.
"There is a lot more to this story," Lacie said. "And we hope to tell the whole story when Casey gets back home so others will see what happen and think twice before going to these countries."