A relative of an American on a solo mission to hunt down Osama bin Laden said Tuesday that the Colorado man is being released by the Pakistani government without charges.
Gary Faulkner, of Greeley, was detained June 13 in the woods of northern Pakistan after being found with a pistol, a sword and night-vision equipment. The 50-year-old told officials he was out to kill the al-Qaida leader. Faulkner was then moved to Islamabad, and a relative said Tuesday that he was being released to American authorities there and would return to the U.S. "very soon."
The relative didn't want to be identified because a family-designated spokesman hadn't yet confirmed the release. The spokesman didn't immediately return calls from The Associated Press. Faulkner's brother, Scott Faulkner, told AP he'd heard the news of the release plans but wasn't ready to comment.
Gary Faulkner is an out-of-work construction worker who sold his tools to finance six trips on what relatives have called a Rambo-type mission to kill or capture bin Laden. He grew his hair and beard long to fit in better.
Scott Faulkner told reporters last week that his brother wasn't crazy, just determined to find the man America's military has failed to capture nearly a decade after the 9/11 attacks in the United States.
"Is it out the norm? Yes it is. But is it crazy? No," Scott Faulkner said. "If he wore a uniform and called himself special ops, would he be crazy?"
Another relative told AP on Tuesday he wasn't sure when Faulkner would return to Denver but that it would be in coming days. The relative said Faulkner, who has kidney problems and needs dialysis, has been treated well by Pakistani authorities and is in good spirits.
State Department officials declined to comment, citing privacy concerns. Faulkner, two department officials said, refused to sign a waiver allowing the government to discuss his case publicly.
Faulkner left Colorado in May 30. Scott Faulkner, a physician in the northeastern Colorado town of Fort Morgan, dropped his brother off at the airport and wasn't sure he'd see him again. But he and other relatives have insisted that Gary Faulker left the U.S. unarmed, had a valid visa for Pakistan and was guilty of no crime while there. Indeed, relatives have said they hope the trip encourages more people to look for bin Laden.
"Now there's going to be hopefully a renewed effort to get this guy — he's still wanted, and he's still out there," Scott Faulkner said last week.