Hostage's Finger Mailed To U.S. Authorities In Iraq - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/13/08

Hostage's Finger Mailed To U.S. Authorities In Iraq

"I'm just - beside myself," says Barbara Alexander

Barbara has been living a nightmare since January 2007. Her son Ronald J. Withrow or Ronnie, now 40, was taken hostage in Iraq while working with a computer company. Barbara longs every day for new information about her son's safety and his whereabouts and Thursday she finally got some, but it wasn't quite the good news she was hoping for. Ronnie's severed finger had been mailed to U.S. authorities in Baghdad.

"Whenever you are surprised by news like that, you know, it just sends you way on back. You're just back sided," Barbara said.

For Barbara knowing the information isn't quite as bad as how she found out about it.

"I found out after I went ahead and looked at the Internet this morning that there were some fingers that was severed that the FBI had been given and that one of them was my sons," Barbara said.

She says she received no contact from the government or her son's employer.

NewsChannel 11 asked, "This whole thing started with Ronnie's job with JPI Worldwide. Have they contacted you?"

"No. Not whatsoever. The only people that have contacted me is the FBI, the victims assistance and the states department. That's it," Barbara replied.

Then we asked, "Have you tried to contact them?"

Barbara replied, "No I haven't. I don't feel that that's my place. I feel that they should contact me. I think it's pretty poor of them. You don't want me to say what I think of them on camera," she said.

Authorities have confirmed four other fingers were delivered along with Ronnie's. Barbara shared a website devoted to this hostage situation. On that site was a picture displaying six men. The five fingers, including Ronnie's, belonged to five of these men, four Americans and one Austrian.

"Knowing what you know now, what's the next step for you?" we asked Barbara.

Barbara replied, "Going after the truth. Going after the whole truth of it all and wanting my son back home."

When NewsChannel 11 first aired this story in late January, we called JPI Worldwide for comment about Ronnie being taken hostage. Then we were told the CEO asks all questions pertaining to this situation be directed to the FBI. Thursday, we called again and the numbers listed on their website no longer work.

We'll continue to track this situation and bring you any new developments when we are able.

1/27/08
A 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.

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