Military offers details on recovery of Maupin’s remains
The remains of a U.S. soldier missing in Iraq for nearly four years were found after a tip from an Iraqi northwest of Baghdad, according to information released Tuesday.
On Monday, the Army had formally announced that the remains of Army Staff Sgt. Matt Maupin had been recovered, but few details were released. According to Tuesday’s new information, the remains were found March 20.
“The evidence was collected, and forensic and DNA testing was performed on the remains,” a news release issued by the U.S. command in Baghdad read. “Positive identification was made March 30.”
Medical examiners are conducting a postmortem exam of Maupin’s remains to see if it is possible to determine the cause of death, said Paul Stone, a spokesman for the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology.
There are not enough remains to conduct a traditional autopsy, he said.
Maupin, a reservist from Ohio, went missing in April 2004 after his fuel convoy came under attack.
“Although this is a day of sadness and mourning, I am hopeful that this discovery brings a sense of closure for the Maupin family,” Lt. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, the second-ranking U.S. commander in Iraq, said in a statement.
“This family has been incredibly brave and stoic over these past four years, and they represent the essence of a great Army family.”
Maupin’s remains were recovered in the Abu Ghraib area of Iraq by a unit attached to the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment out of Vilseck, Germany, officials said.
The recovery mission was carried out by the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, a unit known as the “Gimlets” and based at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
“Since beginning operations in Abu Ghraib, we made finding Staff Sgt. Maupin a top priority to clearly demonstrate to every servicemember, and every family, that we will never leave a fallen comrade,” said Col. John RisCassi, the 2nd SCR commander.
RisCassi said the search for Maupin’s remains was conducted “as a criminal investigation” and by “employing appropriate investigative techniques.”
Military officials credited a changed security environment — in which some former Sunni insurgents have sided with American forces — as one element that helped the search.
Many of the insurgents suspected of involvement in Maupin’s capture and death were detained in recent weeks, officials said.
“We were able to produce great synergy by pursuing this investigation in conjunction with our ongoing targeting efforts,” said Lt. Col. Omar Jones, the 2nd SCR’s executive officer, said.
Stars and Stripes reporter Jeff Schogol contributed to this story.