KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) The family of Matthew Heath, a Marine Corps Veteran who was imprisoned in Venezuela, say their prayers have been answered.

“We never lost hope, we’ve always had confidence that we would get Matthew home,” said Trudy Rutherford, Heath’s aunt.

On Saturday, Venezuela freed seven Americans, including the former Marine, a native of Union County, Tennessee. In return for the release of the Americans, the U.S. released two nephews of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s wife who had been convicted on drug charges.

Rutherford said the good news came after receiving an email from the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs. The family said they also spoke with President Joe Biden.

“He confirmed that all of our family members were coming home, and they [the former prisoners] were heading to San Antonio. They would go there to get a full medical evaluation and go from there,” Rutherford said.

The best update, however, came from Matthew Heath himself.

“Matthew called me and his mother and said that he was in the Bahamas at the time and he was getting ready to get on a plane to head to San Antonio, and he asked us if we were going to meet him there.”

Heath was arrested in Venezuela back in September of 2020 at a roadblock and charged with offenses relating to terrorism and gun trafficking. Now, however, the family is heading to Texas for a reunion they say is long overdue.

“It was hard to believe. We’ve been hearing, ‘Matthew’s coming home’ several different times, and we got all excited just to be let down that he was not actually on the plane,” Rutherford said. “So when we actually heard, ‘Yes he is on the plane,’ it was like letting air out of a balloon. Just thank God that it’s true this time.”

Heath’s mother told WATE 6 that she is thankful for everyone who helped make sure her son could return home.