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Yahoo gives dead Marine’s family e-mail info

E-mail provider Yahoo has pledged to give family members of a Marine killed in Iraq full access to their son’s e-mail account.
/ Source: The Associated Press

E-mail provider Yahoo has pledged to give the family of a Marine killed in Iraq full access to their son’s e-mail account, ending a court battle that began after his parents sought messages he wrote before his death.

An Oakland County probate judge signed an order Wednesday directing Yahoo Inc. to provide the contents of the e-mail account used by Lance Cpl. Justin M. Ellsworth, 20, who was killed Nov. 13 while inspecting a bomb in Al Anbar province.

Yahoo!, which originally refused the family’s request to hand over the account, did not fight the order and gave the family a CD containing more than 10,000 pages of material.

'Maybe that's all he had'
But John Ellsworth, Justin’s father, said he found only e-mails his son received and nothing he had written, even e-mails the younger Ellsworth had sent home.

“Maybe that’s all he had ... Maybe that’s all he did,” John Ellsworth said. “I’m not sure what I’ve got in front of me.”

The family found only their own messages to Justin Ellsworth, as well as spam and a few e-mails from people they had never heard of.

A spokeswoman for Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo said the CD should have contained the Marine’s outgoing as well as his incoming e-mail messages.

“We will do whatever it takes to help Mr. Ellsworth access all of the files on the disc,” Mary Osako told The Associated Press on Thursday. She said Yahoo would deliver a paper copy of the contents to the family early next week.

Justin Ellsworth’s job was to locate and destroy hidden bombs. He discovered one while on patrol and noticed the device lacked wires, suggesting it was remote-controlled. He warned fellow Marines to clear the area but was caught by the blast.