Local News

Fayetteville Family Waits For Word On Kidnapped Relative In Iraq

Posted April 14, 2004

— Families of hostages are still waiting for word on their loved ones in Iraq. Forty people from 12 countries are being held. Among them, a soldier from Greensboro and an American contractor with local ties.

Thomas Hamill, 43, was working as a contract truck driver when his convoy was ambushed near Fallujah on Friday. He was kidnapped, and now his cousin, who lives in Fayetteville, can only hope he is still alive.

In video taken just after his capture, Hamill said, "They attacked our convoy. That's all I'm gonna say."

Iraqi insurgents demanded the U.S. retreat by Saturday night or threatened Hamill would be killed.

"I hope he's still alive. The deadline passed Saturday night and we haven't heard anything," said Rudy Eisenzopf, Hamill's cousin.

Eisenzopf and the rest of the family have been glued to the TV, hoping for word of or another glimpse of Hamill.

"He looked very calm, he actually looked a little angry, but he didn't look scared. I imagine he is scared, who wouldn't be?" Eisenzopf said.

It has been three days since the deadline passed, and there has been no word from Hamill.

Eisenzopf holds out hope the kidnappers will set his cousin free.

"I don't allow myself to think that they won't, because that would be like giving up," he said.

Hamill's wife, Kellie, released a statement Tuesday from their home in Mississippi. She thanked supporters and asked her husband's captors to release him as soon as possible.

Hamill, a father of two, went to Iraq to earn extra money to support his family.

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