Family upset over lack of information about kidnapped KC man

Friday, March 30, 2007

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Family members of a private security contractor kidnapped in Iraq more than four months ago are going public with their frustration over a lack of information from the government and the man's employer.

John Roy Young, 44, of Kansas City, four other Americans and an Austrian were kidnapped Nov. 16 in southern Iraq when their truck convoy was ambushed.

Since then, the family said, they have been given almost no information from government agencies, including the FBI and the State Department, and Young's employer, Crescent Security Group Inc.

"We don't know if they're alive or dead," said Sharon DeBrabander, Young's mother.

The frustration has prompted the families of the kidnapped contractors to take matters into their own hands.

Mark Koscilski, a friend of kidnapped contractor Paul Johnson Reuben, left the United States Thursday for Kuwait, where he hopes to contact the kidnappers and begin negotiations to free the five, DeBrabander said.

"I believe he's going to try to get on one of their news channels where all the Iraqi people can see it, so we can see if someone might have some information or know where they might be," she said.

Videos of the hostages were released in December -- the last update his family has received. Young appeared to have lost 20 or 25 pounds and "looked like crap," said his son, John Robert Young.

"Nobody'll contact us," DeBrabander said. "They need somebody just for that over in Iraq -- somebody that knows what's going on and, even if they can't tell us everything, can give us something.

"Don't tell us, `We don't have anything today.' I'm so tired of those five words."

A State Department spokeswoman said Thursday that she could not provide any information on Young or the hostages.

"The office of Overseas Citizens Services routinely works with families of kidnapping victims to provide information and assistance," spokeswoman Janelle Hironimus said.

Young, a former soldier in the Army's 82nd Airborne Division and a member of the Army Reserve, worked sporadically as a private contractor in Iraq, family members said. Before he was kidnapped, he contacted his son about every two days, 19-year-old John Young said.

"You think about it no matter what you do to not think about it," Young said. "I sit in class, I'll be halfway through a lecture and all the sudden I'll block my teacher out and start thinking about my dad, you know?"

John R. Young also has a 14-year-old daughter.

DeBrabander said she and other family members of the kidnapped contractors have begun taking anti-depression medicine.

But now, the depression has given way to anger.

"I've been real quiet before, but now I'm mad," DeBrabander said. "I want more answers than what we've been getting."

Information from: The Kansas City Star,

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