In April 1997, Jon and his girlfriend Camilla left to set up a children's center in war-torn Chechnya. The country was in ruins, with over half a million people displaced and thousands dead. After a few months, they were brutally kidnapped by Chechen rebels and spent 14 months in captivity. At one point, Jon was shackled to a radiator and could hear Camilla another room being raped. In September 1998, they were freed after an intervention by a Russian politician and married seven months later.