Mother's Plea For Help - Son Taken Hostage - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/27/08

Mother's Plea For Help - Son Taken Hostage

It's a parents worst nightmare. A son working as a civilian in Iraq is taken hostage. It's sounds more like a Hollywood movie plot, but sadly for one Roaring Springs mother, this is all too real.

The mothers name is Barbara Alexander. Barbara's son, Ronald J. Withrow or Ronnie as she calls him, served in our country's armed forces and then went back to civilian life working with computers. That career took him to the Middle East.  Barbara says the FBI believes Ronnie has been held hostage there since January 2007.

"He was being sent back stateside to get further training, Computer training in order to do more for them," Barbara said.

40-year-old Ronnie Withrow works for a company called JPI Worldwide.

"He was over in Iraq with his company, JPI Worldwide and that he had been working for them on a 90 day mission," said Barbara.

A mission, Barbara says, from which Ronnie never returned.

NewsChannel 11 asked, "What contact has been made by the federal government to your family?"

His mother replied, "None. Other than the FBI."

NewsChannel 11 asked, "what is the FBI doing? What are they saying can be done to get your son back since the government has a policy not to negotiate with hostage takers.  So what can be done?"

Barbara replied, "I have no idea. He said he would be back in touch with me in two or three weeks and not to expect anything more than that."

Barbara says she's been contacted by the FBI as recently as Friday about her son and when the FBI met with them last, they collected samples of her son's DNA and some of his personal belongings.  No other information has been released other than the FBI believes Ronnie is being held hostage.

"It's hard for a parent to lose their own baby, I feel it's even harder to have one and to not know what's being done, What's going on with 'em, You know you feel like sometimes you're just in a terrified state, That you're just in a whirlwind or a tornado that's just not stopping," Barbara said.

For Barbara, her needs are simple.

"All I'm asking for is just some help to try to find out whats happened to him, and see if we can go ahead and bring him safely home," Barbara added.

I did make contact with JPI Worldwide. The only number I could find accepting calls on a Sunday night was the global support phone number.  When I asked about one of their employees being taken hostage in Iraq, the man on the other end stopped me, took my information and said the companies CEO would be in touch. Soon after the same operator called back saying the CEO asks that all questions pertaining to this situation be directed to the FBI.

 

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