Former Ball State football player Wendell Brown has languished in a Chinese jail for over 500 days, and his parents are still waiting for answers from the U.S. government. Brown, 32, was arrested after a bar fight in 2016. Surveillance video shows Brown defending himself as bottles were being thrown at him.
Brown stood trial over 6 months ago. He is still waiting for the judge to render her verdict or release him on bond. Strangely, the judge has visited Brown in jail several times to check on his well-being.
The former CFL player spends his days reading and writing letters home to his family.
In one letter the Detroit native said his Chinese attorney advised him to plead guilty and serve a 2-year sentence. But Brown is suspicious of the advice.
"If they refuse to release me and I'm saying I'm innocent, I know saying guilty won't free me! If they keep an innocent man this long, how long will they keep a guilty man!"
"It is just unfair," said Brown's mother, Antionette Brown-King. "And it is clearly wrong to have a man sit that long (with) no answer. It is devastating to us all."
Brown-King has previously stated she would gladly give credit to President Trump if he appealed to the Chinese government on her son's behalf.
"It seemed like we were getting somewhere, seven months ago," said Travon King, Wendell's step-father. "It is hard to explain, really, seeing my wife fight every night for her son, calling the Chinese embassy."
The State Department has assured the family that Brown is not forgotton.
In February, Mrs. King traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with representatives from the US State Department and the Chinese Embassy.
She was encouraged that the government red tape is slowly unraveling. But Brown's step-father is frustrated with the delay.
"What is the hold up," Travon said. "That is what I want to know."
The State Department released a statement on the case saying:
"The Department of State takes seriously its obligation to assist US citizens arrested abroad. The US Consulate in Chengdu, China has been providing consular assistance including monthly consular visits to Mr. Brown since he was detained. We continue to monitor his case closely. We last visited him on January 19, 2018."