Former North Korea Captive Reacts To Kim Jong Il Death

Eddie Murphy Jr. Held Captive In North Korea For 11 Months

A San Diegan held captive in North Korea in 1968 spoke with 10News on Monday about what may be next for the country after the death of its leader, Kim Jong Il.

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"I literally live it practically every day," said Eddie Murphy Jr.

On January 23, 1968, the surveillance ship USS Pueblo was attacked and seized in international waters east of North Korea. About 80 crew members were captured, including then-executive officer Murphy.

"I was also tagged as being a CIA agent because I was in fact the second in command," he said.

The prisoners were interrogated and tortured during their 11 months of captivity.

In Japan, Murphy's wife was eight months pregnant with their second child when she learned the news of the capture over the telephone and through a letter.

"At that time we also saw a picture of the officers in the newspaper saying, 'These are the officers of the ship with their hands up being marched away' and Ed wasn't in the picture," said Murphy's wife, Carol. "We also knew one man had been killed and we didn't know who."

Murphy's mother in San Francisco saw the same picture and was unsure if her son was alive. Days later, she died.

"We didn't know at that moment if Ed was with her or not," said Murphy's wife.

Murphy survived and said he is reminded of his experience as the world reacts to Kim Jong Il's death.

"They really are in sorrow today," he said. "There is no question about that."

Murphy said it is still unknown what will happen. He also said he is not convinced that Kim Jong Un – Kim Jong Il's youngest son – will be the next leader.

"There's not going to be a vote," said Murphy. "It's going to be whatever the party thinks is going to be best."

Murphy said he and the other captives returned to San Diego on Christmas Eve in 1968 and were greeted like heroes. Murphy, however, said he does not feel like he was a hero.

"Every person was shoulder-to-shoulder and waving at us," he said. "It was such a welcome home. It's still so warm in our hearts."

The USS Pueblo remains in North Korea.

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