Former UCF student believed to be taken hostage by ISIS
A former UCF student and Central Florida Future writer could be the subject of a hostage video released by ISIS, an Islamist extremist group.
In a new, threatening video the focus is on the apparent beheading of American journalist James Foley — as well as the appearance of a second hostage who is identified in the video as missing photojournalist and former UCF student Steven Joel Sotloff.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) posted a video titled "A Message to America" that shows Foley's apparent beheading. Foley disappeared in northwest Syria on Thanksgiving Day in 2012.
It is not confirmed that Sotloff is actually the second man shown in the video, although the video identifies him as Sotloff. In the message, the man reported to be Sotloff is dressed in an orange jumpsuit and is being held by a militant dressed fully in black.
In the video, one of the ISIS extremists reportedly said that Sotloff will be the next to die if the United States doesn't stop its attacks on ISIS positions in Iraq. The video, which is in Arabic but narrated and subtitled in English, ends with Sotloff telling President Barack Obama his life "depends on your next decision."
UCF spokeswoman Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala confirmed Sotloff was a UCF student from fall 2002 through December 2004 and was a journalism pending major. Sotloff also was a contributor to the Future during his time at UCF.
The authenticity of the video has not yet been confirmed, but USA Today reported that National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said the intelligence community is working "as quickly as possible" to determine its authenticity.
Sotloff is a photojournalist for Time magazine, according to CBS News.
The Future will provide updates as they are received.