Kidnapped journalist has relatives in Leavenworth
A Lansing schoolteacher and her relatives are seeking prayers for the safe return of her niece, a freelance reporter for The Christian Science Monitor kidnapped last week in Baghdad.
The reporter, Jill Carroll, is the niece of Rett and Barb Alonzi of Leavenworth. Barb Alonzi is a fifth-grade teacher at Lansing Intermediate School.
The Alonzis were out of town Wednesday and could not be reached for comment, but Barb Alonzi's brother John Denney said several churches had put Carroll on their prayer list, including Trinity Lutheran Church in Leavenworth, where the Alonzis are members.
Denney said the family remained strong in its hope that no harm would come to Carroll.
"I think everyone is pretty hopeful," he said Wednesday.
Carroll was kidnapped Jan. 7 in Baghdad while on assignment for the Monitor. Her driver escaped the kidnappers, but Carroll's interpreter was killed in the attack.
Carroll, 28, is the 31st journalist to be kidnapped in Iraq since 2003 but is the first female American journalist taken captive.
The Monitor's Web edition said a videotape delivered to the Arab news network Al Jazeera showed Carroll and included a demand from her kidnappers that U.S. military authorities release all Iraqi women in their custody by Friday or they would kill Carroll.
The Website has posted this statement from the newspaper:
"Jill Carroll's colleagues at The Christian Science Monitor and journalists around the world appeal to her captors to release her immediately and without harm. They have seized an innocent person who is a great admirer of the Iraqi people. She is a professional journalist whose only goal has been to report truthfully about Iraq and to promote understanding. As an intelligent, dedicated, open-minded reporter, she has earned the respect of her Arab and Western peers. Since arriving in Iraq in 2003, Jill has always been treated as a guest by Iraqis and has sought to reflect their views and their hearts to the world. She has doggedly pursued stories for a variety of news organizations from several different countries. She began to file stories to The Monitor early last year.
"Jill is in our prayers."