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Wife of Iraqi Hostage Pleads for Return

Wife of Iraqi Hostage Pleads for Return

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MACON, Miss. (AP) -- Kellie Hamill said Wednesday that her family is struggling with the silence that has followed the capture of her civilian husband in Iraq, maintaining their courage through prayer and the support of others.

"It's hard, it's really hard," she said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press from her home in Macon. "You want him home. You want to hear from him. You want to hear him."

Thomas Hamill, 43, a fuel tanker driver for Halliburton Co. subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root, was abducted Friday when gunmen attacked his convoy of fuel trucks.

Now, Hamill's family must deal with reports that four bodies have been found in Iraq, possibly the remains of private contractors who are missing.

Kellie Hamill said she had not seen her husband's picture since the weekend, when the Arabic news network Al-Jazeera aired tapes of the former dairy farmer. In the segment, Hamill's captors threatened to kill him unless U.S. troops ended their assault on the city of Fallujah.

A deadline imposed by his abductors came and went Sunday with no word of his fate.

Wendy Hall, a Halliburton spokeswoman, said Wednesday the company has no new information regarding the missing workers and whether the four bodies that were reported found Tuesday have been identified as some of those workers.

As word that bodies had been discovered circulated through this town of about 2,200, officials and neighbors made plans for another vigil and offered up prayers.

"We are praying. We are praying all day long," Kellie Hamill said. "I know the Lord is watching over my husband and will keep him safe and he will bring him home to me."

She said it had been extremely difficult to explain to her 13-year-old son, Thomas, and 11-year-old daughter, Tori, what was happening to their father.

"They don't understand. They do know everything. I did not keep anything from my children -- we agreed on this," she said.

Hamill fought hard to keep the dairy business that had been in his family for three decades, working long hours to pay off bank loans, friends said.

But he needed to find a way to raise his children and pay for heart surgery needed by his wife. He sold his cows and milking equipment, and last September the plainspoken family man signed on to drive a fuel truck for a year in Iraq for up to $120,000, tax free.

His wife expressed sympathy for the families of other KBR employees who been reported missing. U.S. officials reported that seven Halliburton employees had been reported missing in Iraq.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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