Family reflects on Marcel Pika's release

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LINCOLN, Neb. -- Marcel Pika was forced to move his family to Lincoln in 1999 after a civil war broke out in Congo. In 2016, he was arrested but never charged. Now, after a lot of work by some very influential people, he's being released.

Since being in jail, Pika has missed six births, graduations, a wedding and a funeral in his family.

Friday morning, one of his sons received a call.

Percy Pika said he heard his father say, "The Congolese government finally decided to let me go."

Freddy Pika, another son, said, "It's a huge relief...you have no idea. It's a huge relief."

Marcel's sons said some of them had to start working second jobs to help the family.

"I would go to bed wondering about the type of mattress my own dad was sleeping on. There were nights I slept on the floor, just to relate to the situation he was going through," Teddy Pika said.

Marcel's sons said the jail their father was staying in smelled like a sewer and had no running water.

Audrey Pika said, "We can have peace in our hearts...knowing that our father's out. He's doing as well as can be, and we will soon be able to see him."

Marcel's eight children and 23 grandchildren will reunite Sunday.

Jomar Pika said, "It's tested my faith. I've grown actually in faith in relationship with Christ the Lord, our Savior, our King."