Released Iraq captive has ties to Linden
Posted March 18, 2012
Updated March 19, 2012
Linden, N.C. — An American citizen who says he was released Saturday after nine months of imprisonment by a Shiite militia in Iraq has ties to Cumberland County.
Neighbors said Sunday that Rand Michael Hultz, who appeared at a press conference in Baghdad in a U.S. Army uniform flanked by Iraqi lawmakers to announce his release, lived on Main Street in Linden about two years ago.
A real estate agent who asked not to be identified said that Hultz and his wife moved into the house in 2008 or 2009. The agent said Hultz was a civilian contractor in Iraq.
At the press conference, Hultz said he was deployed to Iraq in 2003 as an active-duty soldier, but left the military after 15 months.
He was featured in a 2008 report on National Public Radio about American entrepreneurs in Iraq. He said he oversaw investments for a venture called the Iraq Fund and described himself as a lobbyist and business developer.
He said he was kidnapped in June, but the Defense Department has no record of him being a missing person. The U.S. government is investigating his story.
Hultz and his wife planned to renovate the Linden house, the real estate agent said, but around January 2011, his wife put the house up for sale, telling the agent that she hadn't heard from her husband.
"She got mad. She felt like he abandoned her. She was calling to Iraq. Nobody could find him," the agent said.
The agent said she had a buyer for the house in April 2011, but she couldn't complete the sale without Hultz's signature – and he was nowhere to be found.
Neighbors said Hultz's wife moved out of the home about four months ago after selling many of his possessions at yard sales, including what she told neighbors were chandeliers from an Iraqi palace.