Without A Trace In Iraq

A slain American contractor feared for his life after turning whistleblower

The army has launched a fraud investigation into the mysterious disappearance of an American contractor in Iraq and the killing of a co-worker shortly afterward, Defense officials tell TIME. On Oct. 9, 2003, Kirk von Ackermann, 37, was driving alone in northern Iraq when he pulled off the road with a flat tire and phoned the Kirkuk office of his employer--Ultra Services, based in Winters, Calif.--for help. A colleague arrived and found the car but not Von Ackermann. There were no bloodstains or bullet holes in the vehicle. And Von Ackermann didn't seem to be the victim of bandits because his computer,...

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