04/04/2011 12:27 pm ET Updated Jun 04, 2011

Tik Root, Middlebury Student Missing In Syria, Returns Home

A Middlebury College student who went missing in Syria last month has returned to the United States.

Pathik "Tik" Root, 21, disappeared March 18 in Damascus. For weeks, his parents struggled to engineer his return. He was able to leave Damascus this weekend, the Boston Globe reports. "I'm just shocked,'' Root said upon his return. "Thirty-six hours ago, I was in prison. I'm just trying to comprehend all of this. I'm just really, really glad to be back.''

The Burlington Free Press has more on Root's release:

The Middlebury junior, 21, appears to be in good shape, according to his family; Root told American officials his biggest discomfort "was not having his shoes."

Officials began to gain hope for his release on Thursday, the day U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., made what he now calls a "carefully calibrated" speech in the Senate about the Root case in which he urged the Syrian government to give American officials "immediate access" to Tik Root.

Root's parents, both Middlebury biologists, said their son's homecoming was "a gigantic sigh of relief."

Root was in Syria studying Arabic.