Jill Metzger

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Maj. Jill Metzger United States Air Force
Jill Metzger USAF.jpg
Air Force Major Jill Metzger
Born 1973 (age 40–41)
Allegiance United States United States of America
Service/branch Seal of the US Air Force.svg United States Air Force
Rank US-O4 insignia.svg Major
Unit 376th Air Expeditionary Wing
Battles/wars Operation Enduring Freedom

Major Jill Metzger is a United States Air Force personnel officer who gained worldwide attention as the result of a three-day disappearance in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan.

Sporting achievements and family[edit]

She was the women's winner of the United States Air Force Marathon in both 2003 and 2004[1] and placed 10th in the women's division of the Marine Corps Marathon in 2005.[2] Despite being temporarily retired for medical reasons she came in 2nd place at the 2008 United States Air Force Marathon [3]

She has been married to USAF captain Joshua Mayo since the spring of 2006.[4]

Disappearance[edit]

In September 2006, Metzger was serving with the 376th Air Expeditionary Wing stationed at Manas Air Base, a US military facility that has been located at Manas International Airport since 2001, supporting Operation Enduring Freedom's operations in Afghanistan. On September 5, shortly before she was scheduled to return to the United States, she went shopping at the ZUM department store in Bishkek to buy souvenirs for her family. She failed to return to the base as expected and on September 7, The Pentagon reported her as missing (officially, "duty status whereabouts unknown").[5] She was found three days later in the nearby city of Kant. Metzger claimed to have escaped from kidnappers, though U.S. officials noted "serious inconsistencies" in her account.

Kyrgyz Interior Ministry spokesman Nurdin Jangarayev told the press that security cameras showed Metzger and another US servicewoman entering the store and then, three minutes later, Metzger separating from her companion. Vendors near the store later told police she purchased hair dye from them and was alone at the time.[6]

Over the following hours, records showed that two phone calls were placed to Metzger's mobile phone, without success. For one of these calls the phone was traced to the area in which Bishkek's central bus station is located.[5]

Conflicting accounts[edit]

A Kyrgyz police official said that Metzger gave conflicting accounts of her three-day disappearance and refused to give any further statements after speaking with US embassy officials. Batmirza Dzhailobayev, head of the Kant police department, said, "It seemed to me that her testimony was little believable; she was confused in her evidence". Svetlana Ivashenko, a resident at the Kant household where Metzger had requested help, said, "Who had seized her, why and where they had held her all this time, she couldn't clarify".[7] US defense officials investigating the case said that "serious inconsistencies" had become evident and they were exploring the possibility that, rather than having been kidnapped, Metzger was attempting to flee her marriage.[8]

Temporary medical retirement[edit]

On July 10, 2007, Metzger's father informed the media that she had been temporarily retired from the Air Force after having been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, a status that requires a further medical examination after 18 months to assess whether or not she can return to active duty.[9] She may remain on the disability list for up to five years while the Air Force continues the investigation or until evaluations determine if she should be permanently retired, discharged, or returned to active duty.[10] “The Air Force Personnel Evaluation Board approved the placement of Maj. Jill Metzger, a member of the 23rd Wing at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., on the Temporary Disability Retirement List effective July 17, 2007,” said Capt. Dustin Hart, deputy chief of Moody Public Affairs.[11] Metzger received pay and benefits during her temporary retirement. Though she has not yet spoken to the media, her family said she was professionally diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder by physicians at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas.[12]

Return to active duty[edit]

On October 12, 2010, Metzger returned to active duty as the chief of community programs for the Air Force District of Washington at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland. Although the Federal Bureau of Investigation completed their investigation into Metzger's disappearance in 2009, the results have not been made public.[13]

Investigation Complete[edit]

The investigation of Metzger's disappearance was closed on February 3, 2012. Various agencies, including the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, confirmed Metzger's account of the events. Evidence taken from surveillance tape at the ZUM department store indicate a surveillance effort against her. Her kidnapping may have been by mistake, her captors having mistaken her for someone else.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2004 Marathon Results - Individual". USAF. Archived from the original on 2007-02-27. Retrieved 2007-07-04. 
  2. ^ Evans, Judith (2005-10-31). "Kvasnicka Turns Second Into 1st". Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-07-04. 
  3. ^ "2008 Marathon Results USAF - Individual". USAF. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  4. ^ "Missing Air Force Major Found Alive". CBS News. 2006-09-08. Retrieved 2007-07-04. 
  5. ^ a b "Air Force Major Missing In Kyrgyzstan". CBS News. 2006-09-08. Retrieved 2007-07-04. 
  6. ^ "Air Force: Major not taking leave". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 2007-07-04. 
  7. ^ Saralayeva, Leila (2006-09-11). "Kyrgyz Police Say Major Was 'Confused'". Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-07-05. 
  8. ^ "Vanishing Major: Runaway Bride or Kidnap Victim?". ABC News. Retrieved 2007-07-05. 
  9. ^ "Father says Metzger is to be put on temporary retirement". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 2007-07-16. 
  10. ^ "Metzger's situation remains a mystery". WALB News Valdosta. Retrieved 2007-07-18. 
  11. ^ "Metzger retiring, for now". Valdosta Daily Times. Retrieved 2007-07-19. 
  12. ^ "Temporary retirement official for Metzger". Air Force Times. Retrieved 2007-07-19. 
  13. ^ "Former missing Air Force officer returns to active duty". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 2010-11-01. 
  14. ^ "Air Force Confirms Metzger Kidnapped in 2006". Air Force Times. Retrieved 20 March 2012. 

Further reading[edit]