Twin Cities activist and comedian Tou Ger Xiong had a passion for travel and frequently visited Colombia for the country's culture, energy and music.

But on Wednesday, a suspect was taken into custody in Medellín where Xiong, 50, was found dead Monday following a kidnapping for ransom, his brother said.

The well known Hmong American activist, speaker and comedian enjoyed Colombia's lively, free spirited energy and had several friends in the country, said brother Eh Xiong. He'd invited him along to Colombia in the past, and Eh almost traveled to the country with his brother this summer before work interrupted his plans.

"He never, ever felt unsafe. It's almost like a second home; he loved it there," Eh Xiong said.

The two often talked about how some areas outside the U.S. could be risky for tourists, Eh Xiong said. Kidnappings of tourists are on the rise in Colombia. The U.S. State Department classifies the country as a level 3, which encourages Americans to "reconsider travel" due to unrest and kidnappings.

"He was aware of it," Xiong said. "But he's one of those people who only assumes the best in people."

Xiong was kidnapped following a date with a woman he met online, according to the Colombian newspaper El Colombiano. A group of men contacted his family demanding a $2,000 ransom — the equivalent of nearly $8 million Colombian pesos — and killed him a day later without collecting the money. His body was found Monday with multiple stab wounds and evidence of blunt force trauma, the newspaper reported.

A friend Xiong was staying with at the time of his death notified the family that an individual who took part in his capture had been taken into custody, Eh Xiong said.

Xiong was credited with shedding light on the Hmong American immigrant experience through comedy and laughter. He was a 2019 Bush Fellow.

The outpouring of support from friends, political leaders and others who say Xiong affected their lives has been a comfort to the family, and especially their mother, Eh said.

Minnesota leaders have express their condolences including Gov. Tim Walz, Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, who said on X (formerly Twitter) that his longtime friend Xiong was one of the funniest and most sincere people he'd ever met.

"A community leader, accomplished storyteller & comedian, the first Hmong rapper, and an absolute karaoke master in any genre of music. His light enlivened everyone around him," Carter wrote.

The family is working with the State Department, Minnesota U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith and the embassy in Colombia. They hope to repatriate his body to the United States in the next week.

The family will hold a candlelight vigil and establish a scholarship in his name, Eh said.