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Oregon traveler who was detained in East Timor headed home

PORTLAND — An American traveler detained for months in East Timor has been released by the government of that Southeast Asia country and has boarded a plane to begin her trip home, a U.S senator from Oregon said late Monday.

Stacey Addison, 41, of Portland has gotten her passport back and has begun her return to Oregon, said Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.

"This is terrific news for Stacey, for her family, and for all the Oregonians who have followed Stacey's story and helped support her from afar," Merkley said in a statement that was echoed by Sen Ron Wyden and Rep. Greg Walden.

The globe-trotting veterinarian was released from prison in East Timor in late December. She was arrested in September after sharing a taxi with a stranger who asked the driver to stop so he could pick up a package. Police stopped the taxi, determined the package contained methamphetamine and took everyone to the station.

Addison was released from jail after a few days, but was ordered to remain in East Timor during the investigation. Then, in October, a prosecutor persuaded a court to rescind Addison's conditional release, and she was taken to a women's prison despite not being charged with a crime.

Merkley offered special thanks to Karen Stanton, the U.S. ambassador to East Timor, saying she had "worked tirelessly" to secure the release. He also thanked East Timor's ambassador to the United States, Domingos Sarmento Alves, and "other officials in East Timor who facilitated this wonderful outcome."

Walden spoke with President Barack Obama in January and last week with Secretary of State John Kerry about Addison’s situation. Bernadette Kero, Addision’s mother, lives in Klamath Falls. Walden met with her in December in Klamath Falls.

After her release from prison, Addison was reported staying at the guest house of former President Jose Ramos-Horta.

Addison has been traveling the world since January 2013, starting in Antarctica.

— Associated Press