Family, Friends Elated at News of Carroll's Release
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News of Jill Carroll's release spread quickly among her family, friends and coworkers. Editors at the Christian Science Monitor said they're thrilled with her safe return. Family members also said they're elated and relieved. From member station WBUR in Boston, Monica Brady Myerov reports.
MONICA BRADY MYEROV reporting:
Early this morning, Jill Carroll's father woke up to the sound of his daughter's voice on the telephone.
Mr. JIM CARROLL (Father of Jill Carroll): I got the call a little before six. Jill called me directly. And it was quite a wake-up call, to say the least.
MYEROV: Outside his home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Carroll said it took him a few moments to believe his daughter was alive and free.
Mr. CARROLL: It was a fantastic conversation, obviously. We're feeling ecstatic. It's been a long haul, and we're done with it now. And she's doing well. I was glad to see her on TV this morning. She's apparently in good health and mentally strong, and we're all very pleased about that.
MYEROV: Soon after that call, Christian Science Monitor newspaper editor Richard Bergenheim got a call from one of his reporters with the good news. The call surprised him, because Bergenheim said the paper had no contact with Carroll's captors.
Mr. RICHARD BERGENHEIM (Editor, Christian Science Monitor): There was absolutely no negotiations that took place for her release. We do not know the details. We simply know that she was dropped off at the Iraqi Islamic Party headquarters.
MYEROV: Jill Carroll's father thanked the staff at the Monitor for their support.
Mr. CARROLL: The people in that paper did an incredible job, devoted themselves for three months to getting Jill released. They worked with doing investigative reporting in Baghdad. They worked on setting up the media statements, the video statements we made. They created public service announcements in Baghdad, to keep her face alive and her image there so that people understood what her condition was.
MYEROV: On the campus of the University of Massachusetts, in Amherst, where Carroll received her bachelor's degree in journalism in 1999, there was a lot of relief. Professor Karen List says Jill Carroll's journalism represents the best principles in the field.
Professor KAREN LIST (Journalism, University of Massachusetts): She cares about her work in a way that I so admire, as does everyone in our department. She's been a tremendous role model for our students, and certainly will continue to be.
MYEROV: Students at the college newspaper had organized a rally for Carroll in February and felt connected to her plight. Matt Vautour has been a close friend of Carroll's since they worked together on the college newspaper. He went back to campus today to celebrate.
Mr. MATT VAUTOUR (Friend of Jill Carroll): When she was here, she dreamed of doing exactly what she ended up doing, and being a journalist writing about important things. And I'm proud for her, and I'm sure she's much prouder that she's doing that. And that, and I'm just glad that she'll have the opportunity to do it again.
MYEROV: In Ann Arbor, Michigan, where Jill Carroll grew up, a family friend said he was hugely relieved. Attorney David Hutchinson has known Carroll since she was eight, and frequently exchanged emails with her in Iraq. When she went to cover the war, he was worried about her. And even after her kidnapping, he's convinced she'll stay in the middle of breaking news.
Mr. DAVID HUTCHINSON (Family friend of Jill Carroll): I have a feeling that there'll be reason to worry about her again, because it's what she wants to do. Whatever she does, she'll throw herself into headlong, and she'll do a terrific job. I'm sure of that.
MYEROV: Carroll's father said he doesn't have plans yet as to whether he'll go to meet his daughter in Iraq or she'll come home right away. But when they do meet, he says his priority is to help her recover from her ordeal.
For NPR News, I'm Monica Brady Myerov, in Boston.
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