Four families are celebrating the return of their loved ones this week, while another, the family of hostage Bob Levinson, continues to wait after more than eight years.
Dan Levinson, one of the seven children of the former FBI agent, says his father has been abandoned by the Obama administration.
“It’s worrisome, where my dad falls on the priority list,” Dan, 30, tells PEOPLE. “He has given decades of his life to serving his country.”
Dan wonders if his father was dropped entirely from the Iran negotiations. “If that’s true he’s the soldier left behind on the battlefield. What does that say for other people in our armed forces, in our government posts around the world who are in these dangerous places and who are risking their lives – that the U.S. government would be so willing to abandon them in their time of need.”
A senior Obama administration official tells PEOPLE that “Robert Levinson was most certainly discussed during our conversations with Iranian officials about our detained U.S. citizens. From these discussions, Iran has agreed to continue to meet and cooperate on locating Mr. Levinson.”
Another government source with direct knowledge of the Levinson case tells PEOPLE, “We don’t have a clue where he is, and the Iranians aren’t talking.”
“The Iranians might not know where he is, either,” the source says. “It’s been such a long time with him. He could be anywhere. He could be in Russia for all we know. He could be dead.”
Dan Levinson says he has been told there is no evidence of his father’s death, and Iran not knowing his father’s whereabouts is “nonsense.”
“We believe, and many in the U.S. government believe, that they know exactly where he is.” he says.
Further, Dan says his mother Christine spoke with Secretary John Kerry last week, but Kerry did not inform them that Bob would not be included in the prisoner swap.
Government officials blame Iran for leaking the news of the release of Americans Amir Hekmati, Saeed Abedini, Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari and Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, before they had time to contact the Levinson family.
“There are only a handful of people who have the clearance to talk about this sort of thing. It takes us forever to get the clearances to release information,” the source close to the Levinson case says. “The Iranians want to take the lead, and hold it. They jumped out and announced it first.”
Dan says although “mistakes were made” in the way his family was informed that his father would not be coming home with the other hostages, “the bigger problem is that he wasn’t made a priority.”
“I’m still in shock, we are still devastated and it’s just been the most difficult past few days. Not just for me, my family, our friends.”
•With reporting by SUSAN KEATING and SANDRA SOBIERAJ WESTFALL