The Air Force has confirmed that a major who went missing in Kyrgyzstan six years ago was kidnapped, debunking an online smear campaign that claimed she went AWOL.
On Feb. 3, investigators officially closed the case of Maj. Jill Metzger, who disappeared for several days in September 2006. She later said she had been kidnapped and had managed to escape.
"The Air Force Office of Special Investigations and several outside agencies then conducted a comprehensive and detailed examination of all the facts in this case and continued the investigation as long as was necessary in order to get to the truth," Air Force spokeswoman Maj. Tracy A. Bunko said.
After talking to hundreds of people, canvassing areas of Kyrgyzstan and conducting a forensic analysis of the evidence, investigators determined that all of the evidence supported Metzger's account of what had happened, Bunko said in an email.
"By analysis of all of the available information, the OSI eliminated multiple alternate scenarios and concluded the information uncovered is consistent with Maj. Metzger's account of the events," Bunko said.
Metzger went missing on Sept. 5, 2006, after visiting a department store in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek.
"A detailed review of surveillance tapes of the shopping center from which Maj. Metzger was abducted depicts an apparent organized surveillance effort against her on 5 September by at least two unidentified persons," Bunko said. "As Maj. Metzger departed the mall, one of the individuals conducting the surveillance closely followed her."
A redacted report of the investigation suggests criminals may have confused Metzger with someone else, kidnapping her by mistake. The intended target of the kidnapping, who is not named, "fit the same general physical description as VICTIM [Metzger] and carried the same type of large shoulder bag."
Metzger was able to escape by stabbing one of her captors with a stick she had sharpened into a shank and then locking him in the room where she was held. She eventually knocked on the door of a local couple, who took her to police.