The families of the three hostages released early today from the U.S. Embassy in Tehran greeted the news with relief and joy, but also with thoughts of hope for other Americans still held captive.
The freed trio -- two black Marine sergeants and a woman secretary at the embassy -- flew today to Copenhagen, Denmark.
Laura May Reeder, mother of Sgt. William R. Quarles, 23, of Washington, D.C., said she never lost her faith that her son would be returned to her.
"No, it's never diminished at all," Mrs. Reeder told United Press International today. "I always kept a lot of faith in what I believed - that eventually somebody would be released."
Mrs. Reeder, 54, said she is unsure about how her son and the other 61 American prisoners were treated, adding, "But there're still a lot of innocent people there. What about their loved ones?"
Secretary Catherine Gross, 23, Cambridge Springs, Pa., may have been released because she wasn't hostile towards her captors, her family members said.
"All you can do is hope that they release the rest of them," brother Kevin, 16, said.
"We talked to Cathy about one-half hour ago (1:30 a.m. EST). She was on the plane in the air and they (the State Department) put a call through while they were flying to Copenhagen.
"She said in her phone call she was getting to be friends with them (her captors) and talking to them a lot," he added. "I guess a reason that they would pick them (the three) out was that they were friendly to them and not hostile."
"She looked absolutely beautiful on television, as beautiful as when we last saw her last August," her mother Mae Gross exclaimed.
"We're very, very happy. She looks beautiful, and we're hoping she makes it home for Thanksgiving," Mrs. Gross said. "Wouldn't that be a beautiful Thanksgiving?"
Marine Sgt. Ladell Maples, the third freed hostage, said Sunday on meeting with reporters he had been assured of his release and that he had been treated well.
Maples, 23, Earle, Ark., said he had spent most of his time in captivity eating, sleeping and reading.
Maples' mother, Jessie Maples, of Earle, said she could not celebrate until she was sure her son was safely out of the embassy.