Monday, May 3, 2004

Civilian hostage escapes

Contractor was in Maupin's convoy

By Lee Keath
The Associated Press

BAGHDAD, Iraq - In a daring escape, American hostage Thomas Hamill pried open the doors of the house where he was being held late Sunday morning and ran a half-mile to a U.S. military convoy passing by, officials and his wife said.

Hamill, 43, of Macon, Miss., identified himself to the soldiers, then led them back to his Iraqi captors, two of whom were captured.

A spokeswoman for the Hamill family told the Enquirer they had no information about Pfc. Matt Maupin, a Union Township soldier also held captive in Iraq.

Hamill and Maupin were in the same convoy that came under attack April 9.

Hamill, a Mississippi dairy farmer who had come to Iraq to get out of debt, was discovered near Samarra, about 40 miles from the site, west of Baghdad, where he had been kidnapped. U.S. officers said Hamill was suffering from an infected gunshot wound in his right arm.

Kellie Hamill said her husband said he heard the troops driving by and "pried the door open. He said he ran half-a-mile down the road and caught up with the convoy.

"Isn't that something?" she said.

Enquirer reporter Liz Oakes contributed.

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