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Finally Free — Ed Chrisman safe in U.S.

Ed Chrisman, left, with his son Gary Chrisman Sr., at the border crossing south of Yuma, Arizona. - Courtesy photo
Ed Chrisman, left, with his son Gary Chrisman Sr., at the border crossing south of Yuma, Arizona.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

After friends and neighbors of the Chrisman family gathered for prayer at

9 a.m. on March 14 at a fundraiser to benefit Ed Chrisman in the effort to get him out of Mexicali Prison in Mexico, Ed Chrisman was released and delivered to the border in the early afternoon.

“More than 150 friends and neighbors gathered for a continental breakfast,” said co-organizer John Koster. He and Larry Stickney planned the event and state Senator Val Stevens provided an update on her efforts to help get them released.

“My family called at 6:30 p.m. to tell us Grandpa was home safe,” said Chrisman’s granddaughter Tracy Chrisman Short.

Ed Chrisman and his grandson Gary Chrisman Jr. were arrested Jan. 8, after Gary took photographs of two young ladies with permission from their mother and they were sent to the Mexicali Prison, even after a court decided they were not guilty.

“The family was there at the prison visiting with Gary and Grandpa and all of a sudden the guards came up and told Grandpa that he had to go to the infirmary,” Short said, describing how it all came about.

Prison officials transported the 88-year-old Arlington Heights resident to the border and he sat there for five hours, not knowing what was going to happen next. The family also drove back to the border, wondering what was next to come.

“We think they were trying to sneak him back in the U.S. to avoid publicity,” Short said.

After Ed Chrisman finally crossed the border, the federal agents then told him he had to go back and go through customs, Short said. “It was really scarey,” she added.

“When he finally got released at the border, they took him to the hospital to get some blood tests done. They are waiting for the results now,” Short said Monday.

“He is sitting out on the deck enjoying the sun and is still trying to grasp that he is free.” She said that her grandfather, who lives in Arlington Heights and spends winters in Yuma with his son, plans to stay in Arizona with the rest of the family and do what he can to fight for Gary Jr.’s freedom.

“We are all going down for a big family reunion,” Short said.

She said that Gary Jr.’s father, Gary Chrisman Sr., is going to continue the same routine, driving down daily to Mexicali until his son is released.

Meanwhile, back at the Heights, Koster said the fundraiser brought in about $4,500.

“They will still need the money to get the grandson out of jail,” Koster said. “Gary Jr. still has to stand trial.”

Stickney said the Ed Chrisman Litigation Fund account at Key Bank will remain for those who want to help the family further.

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