On October 9, 2003, Kirk von Ackermann disappeared in Iraq.
Colin Freeman, a reporter writing from Iraq, first covered the story. It was published in the UK Telegraph on November 9 and in the San Francisco Chronicle on November 11, one month after the incident.
Ackermann's disappearance could easily be explained away as the collateral damage of working in a war zone, but $40,000 in cash, a satellite phone, and his lap top computer were left behind in his car. Odd circumstances in a country where looting and highway piracy have become common place.
No insurgent group claimed responsibility. There was no high profile demand for ransom. No release of a taped appeal to the President of the United States for his freedom. No gruesome video of a beheading posted on a website. No discovery of a body.
Kirk Von Ackermann simply vanished into thin air.
Mystery surrounds US businessman missing in Iraq's 'Sunni triangle' by Colin Freeman, Telegraph, November 9, 2003
Bay Area civilian vanishes in Iraq by Colin Freeman, San Francisco Chronicle, November 11, 2003
An American businessman working for the United States Army in Iraq has mysteriously disappeared while driving his car along an isolated road in the country's "Sunni Triangle".
Fears are growing that Kirk von Akermann, 37, a contractor, may have been abducted and murdered after his car was found abandoned between the towns of Tikrit and Kirkuk.
His satellite mobile telephone, laptop, and a briefcase containing about $40,000 (£24,000) were found inside his vehicle, suggesting that he had not been the victim of a robbery. There was no sign of a struggle at the scene.
Since his disappearance on October 9, the US army - assisted by Iraqi police - has conducted an "aggressive" investigation but has yet to find out anything of note.