WASHINGTON, Sept. 9, 2006 – The Air Force major missing in Kyrgyzstan since Sept. 5 was found alive, officials with U.S. Central Command Air Forces Forward, in Southwest Asia, announced yesterday evening. Police in the Kyrgyzstani capital of Bishkek notified US Embassy and military officials at 1:15 a.m. that Maj. Jill Metzger had been found.
Metzger, personnel chief for the 376th Air Expeditionary Wing at Manas Air Base, went missing Sept. 5 while shopping in Bishkek with other U.S. military personnel. U.S. Embassy officials and Kyrgyzstani government officials said she had been kidnapped.
"Her condition will be determined by a team of medical professionals," Air Force officials said in a written statement. "The investigation concerning her disappearance is ongoing."
Air Force Col Scott Reese, the 376th's wing commander, praised the cooperation between the base and local civil and police authorities during the investigation. "We are elated to have Jill back with us. I want to praise the Kyrgyzstan government, Bishkek law enforcement officials and the cooperation of the U.S. Embassy team for the rapid and thorough investigation resulting in the successful recovery of Major Metzger."
Air Force Lieutenant General Gary North, commander of Central Command Air Forces, was visiting Manas Air Base when Metzger was recovered. He also praised cooperation between local and base officials. "The cooperation with our USAF military investigative team was outstanding," he said. "Her recovery is fantastic news for her family and our military community."