July 11, 2008 in Nation/World

Bodies of 2 missing U.S. soldiers found

By DAVID AGUILAR Associated Press
 

DETROIT – The bodies of two U.S. soldiers missing in Iraq for more than a year have been found, their families said Thursday night. The military would not immediately confirm the report.

The father of Army Sgt. Alex Jimenez, of Lawrence, Mass., said the remains of his son and another soldier, Pvt. Byron W. Fouty, of Waterford, Mich., had been identified in Iraq.

Jimenez, 25, and Fouty, 19, were kidnapped along with a third member of the 2nd Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division during an ambush in May 2007. The body of the third seized soldier, Pfc. Joseph Anzack Jr., of Torrance, Calif., was found in the Euphrates River a year later.

Jimenez’s father, Ramon “Andy” Jimenez, said uniformed military officials came to his home in Lawrence on Thursday to tell him the body of his son and some of his son’s personal effects had been discovered. Fouty’s stepfather, Gordon Dibler, said military officials came to his Oxford home Thursday to break the news.

Andy Jimenez told the Associated Press through a translator that the news “shattered all hope” the family had to “see Alex walk home on his own.”

“Every day that he’s been missing has been a day of ‘what could have been’ … but after hearing the news today … I’m still in shock,” Dibler said.

The soldiers’ families, who had become friends over the past year, were notified around the same time and had been in touch. The Pentagon generally waits 24 hours after notifying the next of kin before making a release public.

Lawrence Veterans Services Director Francisco Urena, who was at the Jimenez home Thursday, said the family was given no details on the discovery of the bodies or the nature of the soldiers’ deaths. Dibler said Fouty’s body was found in the Iraqi village of Jurf as Sakhr.

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