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Three American soldiers who were killed in a June attack and abduction that led to a massive search for two of the troops were not subjects of investigation into an alleged rape and murders by other soldiers in their unit, officials said Monday.

In a statement issued by Multi-National Corps-Iraq, officials said they were seeking to clarify “past articles (that) could be read to imply the three deceased soldiers were somehow involved in the alleged crimes.”

“Thus far, however, no evidence has been discovered implicating” the three soldiers killed in June, the release goes on to read.

On June 16, Spc. David Babineau, Pfcs. Thomas Tucker and Kristian Menchaca were manning a security position in a Humvee near the town of Youssifiyah, south of Baghdad.

Around 8 p.m. that night, another American patrol heard gunfire and explosions coming from the area, couldn’t raise the three on the radio, and requested that a quick reaction force be sent.

When that force arrived, Babineau was dead and the other two soldiers were missing. Days later, their booby-trapped bodies would be found after a search by more than 8,000 American and Iraqi troops.

An investigation into the incident has been completed, Army officials acknowledged last week, but they said the results would not be released until the families have had time to review it.

All three soldiers were assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division.

Five other soldiers from the same company have been charged in the rape and murder of a young Iraqi girl and her family in nearby Mahmudiyah. The incident, which allegedly occurred in March, did not come to light until June, when another soldier in the unit allegedly told a grief counselor of the incident.

The criminal investigations — in both military and U.S. federal courts — into the Mahmudiyah incident are “still on-going and comment on the investigation would be inappropriate,” the Monday release read.

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