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Soldier’s hometown is shocked by abuse photos

In Fort Ashby, West Virginia —  the one stoplight hometown of Lynndie England, whose picture has been splashed on newspapers nationwide — it was a day unlike any residents had ever seen.
/ Source: NBC News

In Fort Ashby, at the Corner Club, it was a day unlike any the regulars had ever seen.

“Makes me sick, it does make me sick,” said Eric Knibiehly. 

Ernie Wolf added, “It’s just a small group of people over there doing this. It’s bad for our soldiers though.”

Fort Ashby is the one stoplight hometown of Lynndie England, whose picture has been splashed on newspapers nationwide.

On Friday, her sister Jessica released family photos to try and humanize her.

“If anyone of you would need money for anything, my sister would give you money without wanting money in return," she said. "That’s how she is.”

Friends also described her as fiercely independent — a young woman who loved watching thunderstorms and had a few of her own.  England was married and divorced before turning 21.

And now Lynndie England has another problem.  Her family says she is five-months pregnant.  Her boyfriend?  He’s one of the prison guards in Baghdad.

Charles Graner was a supervisor at Abu Ghraib and is pictured in some of the photos.  According to court records, Graner beat his first wife and was issued three restraining orders over the last seven years.

He and England started dating in Iraq.  But England’s family says the prisoner photographs are misleading.

“I think it was more her smiling at the people behind the camera,” according to family friend Destiny Goin.  “I don’t think she was smiling at the people in the picture — just behind the camera.”

But in this small Appalachian town where the patriotism runs deep, there are questions.

How could a girl who grew up in a simple trailer home, bagged groceries at the IGA and joined the reserve three years ago to pay for college, get in so much trouble?

“She follows orders," Lynndie’s sister Jessica added.  “That’s what her orders are to do.  Follow orders of her superior officer.”

There's respect for authority in small town America.