Man Claims Iraq Hostage Is Family
BISMARCK, N.D. – A man shown as a hostage on an insurgent video aired on Arab television is "my brother, there's no question about that," a North Dakota man said Wednesday.
The man shown in the video is Ronald Schulz, an industrial electrician who has worked in Iraq, said Ed Schulz, of Arvilla, North Dakota.
He said he last spoke with his brother on Nov. 4, when Ronald Schulz was at home in Anchorage, Alaska.
The video, broadcast Tuesday by the Arab television network Al-Jazeera, claimed insurgents had kidnapped a U.S. security consultant, and displayed a blond, Western-looking man sitting with his hands tied behind his back. The video bore the logo of the insurgent Islamic Army.
The video also showed a U.S. passport and an Arabic identification card with the name Ronald Schulz, but the spelling of the name was uncertain because it was written in Arabic.
Ed Schulz said he could identify his brother from the video but said the FBI had asked family members to give reporters only limited information.
"I don't want to get my brother killed," Ed Schulz said. "But the fact that he has blond hair and blue eyes might get him killed. God only knows with these people."
He said his brother's last known location was Amman, Jordan.
"The FBI is trying to retrace his steps," Schulz said. "They're not even sure what country he's in."
The authenticity of the video had not been confirmed. Liz Colton, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, said U.S. authorities were investigating the Al-Jazeera report.
Ed Schulz said his brother worked for several companies, and that it was not unusual that he had not heard from him for several weeks. "He built a feed mill in China once and he disappeared for three weeks," Schulz said.
He said his brother had visited relatives in North Dakota during the summer. Ronald Schulz graduated from high school in Jamestown, and served in the Marine Corps from 1984 to 1991, Ed Schulz said.
Jamestown Mayor Charlie Kourajian said if the person shown in the video is confirmed as the Ronald Schulz who grew up on a farm near Jamestown, it would be "quite devastating for us because we aren't a big town."
About 15,500 people live in Jamestown.