The parents of the only soldier the Army lists as captured in Iraq are being flown to the Pentagon for a Friday meeting with senior Defense Department officials to discuss the search for their son.
Army Reserve Spc. Keith “Matt” Maupin of Batavia, Ohio, has been missing since April 9, 2004, when his fuel truck convoy was ambushed by insurgents west of Baghdad after leaving camp. A week later, Arab television network Al-Jazeera released a videotape showing Maupin sitting on the floor surrounded by five masked men holding automatic rifles.
That June, Al-Jazeera released another tape purporting to show a U.S. soldier being shot. But the tape was dark and grainy and showed only the back of the victim’s head, and did not show the actual shooting.
The Army ruled it inconclusive, saying it could not determine if the man was Maupin or even if it was an American soldier.
Parents Carolyn and Keith Maupin will meet with Lt. Gen. James L. Campbell, director of the Army staff, and officials from the Casualty Assistance Office and the Joint Personnel Recovery Office. They will also have a video conference call with senior officers in Iraq, including officials from U.S. Central Command.
“We’re bringing the family to the Pentagon to provide them with a progress report on the ongoing search for their son,” said Army spokesman Col. Joseph G. Curtin. He said Maupin’s status is unchanged.
The Army is also paying for the family to stay in a hotel overnight. The Army has provided briefings by phone to the family in the past, but initiated the invitation to the Pentagon so the update could be done in person and officials could answer any of the family’s questions, said Curtin.
Thirty-two members of a Fort Drum, N.Y.-based Army unit spent seven hours Saturday searching for Maupin’s body in the Abu Ghraib section west of Baghdad. They were acting on a tip.
Generally quiet and supportive of the Army’s handling of her son’s case, Carolyn Maupin has lashed out recently, complaining to some Ohio news organizations that she heard about the weekend search from reporters and was having trouble getting updates from the Pentagon.