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Bodies of two kidnapped US contractors found in Iraq

By Michelle Malkin  •  March 24, 2008 11:58 PM


Terrible news. Please keep the families of Ronald J. Withrow of Roaring Springs, Tex., and John Roy Young of Kansas City, Mo., in your thoughts and prayers tonight:

The bodies of two American contractors kidnapped in Iraq more than a year ago have been found, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said Monday, days after the severed finger of one of them was sent to American military authorities.

The F.B.I. said that the remains of Ronald J. Withrow of Roaring Springs, Tex., and John Roy Young of Kansas City, Mo., had been found, and that relatives of the victims had been notified. The bureau did not say when and where the bodies were found, or anything about their condition.

Mr. Withrow was one of five kidnapping victims — Mr. Young not among them — whose fingers were sent recently to the military in Iraq. DNA analysis confirmed that the fingers were from the missing men.

Mr. Withrow was working in Iraq for the information technology company JPI Worldwide when he disappeared Jan. 5, 2007. Mr. Young worked for the Crescent Security Group under contract to Italy. He was seized in an ambush on Nov. 16, 2006.

Please also remember the other civilian contractors still missing who were seized with Young and whose fingers were also sent to military officials:

Paul Reuben of Minneapolis
Jonathon Cote of Getzville, N.Y.
Joshua Munns of Redding, Calif.
Bert Nussbaumer of Vienna, Austria.

I pray we find the animals who did this.


Ronald Withrow’s mother wrote in her diary: “I know God has taken you home. I’m just someone that’s taken care of you. It’s hard to believe that you are gone. My baby take care. Wait for me at the gates of heaven.”

The Kansas City Star has a brief article about John Roy Young here.

The Cote family has a blog here. Jon Cote’s father, Francis, writes:

Colleagues, Friends and Family,

As some of you know, there have been some recent updates regarding Jonathon and the other hostages.

Approximately one month ago the U.S. Military-Government received DNA and prints. The FBI confirmed this information on Frebruary16, 2008 with us. On March 13, 2008 the FBI provided additional information that the DNA was from 5 severed fingers which one belonging to Jon, one to Josh Munns, one to Paul Reuben and one to Bert Nussbaumer, (Austrian) all co-workers of Jon. The fifth did not belong to John Young, the other Crescent Security employee hostage but instead belongs to Ronald Withrow, an American kidnapped two months after the others. We’re hoping that this act was “their” sick way of showing “proof of life”. We don’t know. We know of no ransom demands.

In the afternoon on Friday, March 21, 2008 the FBI visited us to inform us that the US Military-Government has recovered 2 bodies in the Basra area, the area where the hostages are believed to be held. Their identity was unknown at that time. The bodies were flown to the US Air Base in Dover, Delaware where they performed identification and autopsies. Late Sunday night March 23, 2008, we received confirmation from the FBI that the 2 bodies belong to John Young and Ronald Withrow. The parents and family have been notified. Our hearts go out to the families that have lost their loved one and have contacted them to express our condolence. Other families are now uncomfortably awaiting word on any new development.

We have no idea how long it will be before we hear something but we’ll let you know as soon as we do.

Remember to check this web site www.freecote.com. The site now contains most of the media articles and stories going back to the date of the kidnapping, November 16, 2006.

We’re sorry to spoil your Easter with this news but we really feel the need to ask for extra prayers. Please be so kind this holiday to remember to pray for Jon’s safety and the safety of the other hostages. We could also use prayer too to help keep us strong. At least WE have our FAITH to keep us strong and hoping for the best.

Happy Easter!

He is Risen, He is Risen indeed!


More than 1,000 civilian contractors have died in Iraq as of last June, according to this site.

Don’t bother checking the Daily Kos for reaction.

We already know: “Screw them.”

And I’m sure the Huffington Post is working up an exploitative photo mosaic as we speak…

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