(LYNCHBURG, Va.) -- An American teenage boy outsmarted the members of a suspected al Qaeda-linked militant group, escaping after five months of being held hostage in a jungle in the Philippines.
Kevin Lunsmann, 14, was lost for nearly two days, roaming without shoes, before he was found by villagers, his father said.
ABC News affiliate WSET-TV in Virginia spoke to the boy's father, Heiko Lunsmann, who said he's so happy he's getting his son back.
"I'm so proud of my son, he's a hero, he wandered two days through the jungle," Heiko Lunsmann said.
"That was a tough time, it was tough five months," he said. "I only know he is a hero and I'm so happy he escaped."
When Kevin Lunsmann spoke to his father for the first time, the boy proudly said, "I did it on my own, Dad, they didn't release me, I did it," family friend Jean Gowen told ABC News.
Kevin Lunsmann said he convinced his four armed captors that he was going to take a bath at a nearby stream, but then he decided to make a run for it. He followed a river down a mountain in Basilan province before being found with bruises on his arms and feet late the next day by villagers.
This past summer, the boy was vacationing in the Philippines with his Filipino-American mother, Gerfa Yeatts Lunsmann, and his cousin Romnick Jakaria. On July 12, the relatives were on an island near Zamboanga City when they were snatched and taken by boat to Basilan. The captors then called the family in Campbell County, Va., to demand a ransom.
Gowen said Heiko Lunsmann paid an undisclosed ransom amount intended for the release of the boy and his mother two months ago, but only the mother was released.
"The deal was for them to release both Kevin and Gerfa at the time, but they only released one of them," Gowen said. "I think they wanted more money."
The mother was freed when captors dropped her off at a wharf on Basilan. Lunsmann's cousin also escaped from hostage holders last month, when Filipino army forces managed to get near the camp where they were held.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio