Reporting Mike Hellgren
LAHORE, Pakistan (WJZ)— Held hostage. There’s urgent concern about a Marylander kidnapped in Pakistan. Now there are new details about his violent abduction and who’s behind it. Men with assault rifles snatched Warren Weinstein from his home in Pakistan just days before he was to return to Maryland.
Mike Hellgren has new insight from those who know the kidnapped businessman.
He spent many years abroad as a development consultant, and the investigation into his abduction now involves the highest levels of the State Department and the FBI.
Weinstein’s abduction in Lahore, Pakistan was quick and violent and no one has taken responsibility for it.
“Our priority at the moment is to get this guy back and get him safe,” said State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.
It unfolded early Saturday morning. A group of men pretended to offer food to Weinstein’s guards and then rushed the gate with AK-47s and pistols, torturing those guards, then grabbing Weinstein after gaining access to the top floor of his home.
Ed Waggoner has known the Weinstein family for decades.
“They never seemed to think he was in a lot of danger over there but I disagreed with them. It seemed like Pakistan was a dangerous place to be,” he said.
The motive for the abduction is unclear. Were these anti-American terrorists or just bandits seeking a ransom?
There are now concerns about his health. He reportedly does not have the medicine he needs to survive.
“Well, he’s in my prayers,” said Elsie Sullivan, who knows Weinstein’s wife. “I just can’t imagine being in her shoes. I just can’t.”
The FBI is assisting in the search for Weinstein and at least 50 people have been questioned.
“We don’t very much know what happened over there, only that he’s missing,” Waggoner said.
There is concern over whether Weinstein’s guards did enough to protect him. Police say they were well-trained military commandos at one point. They also believe Weinstein’s abductors had him under surveillance for some time.
Weinstein holds a Ph.D in economics and international law from Columbia University. He works for a company called J.E. Austin Associates based in Virginia.