Missing soldier from Torrance found dead in Iraq

first_imgTORRANCE, Calif. (AP) – The body of a U.S. soldier found in the Euphrates River in Iraq was identified Wednesday as a Torrance man who was abducted with two comrades a week and a half ago, according to his aunt. Military officials visited the home of Pfc. Joseph Anzack Jr. and told his family that a commanding officer identified the body. “They told us we’re sorry to inform you the body we found has been identified as Joe,” said Debbie Anzack, choking back tears. “I’m in disbelief.” Anzack, 20, was one of three soldiers who vanished after their combat team was ambushed May 12 about 20 miles outside of Baghdad. Five others, including an Iraqi, were killed in the ambush, subsequently claimed by al-Qaida. Thousands of U.S. and Iraqi forces searched desert, lush farmland and even sewage-tainted irrigation ditches for more than a week in temperatures that reached 110-degrees. Another body was found near Anzack’s, his aunt said after the briefing from military officials. Anzack’s family had held out hope for the past 11 days. They had already endured an earlier rumor that he was dead – only to learn he was alive. About a month ago, messages on the MySpace Web site said the Army gunner had died. South High School, where he had been a high school football star, posted a message on the school’s marquee reading: “In Loving Memory Joseph Anzack Class of 2005.” His father, Joseph Anzack, called the Red Cross about the rumors, and military commanders were able to get his son to a phone where he confirmed he was alive and well. Anzack was a private first class in Company D, 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment of the 10th Mountain Division’s 2nd Brigade combat team. In Torrance, a modest suburb of about 150,000 residents 20 miles southwest of downtown Los Angeles, neighbors and friends stood by Wednesday waiting for word of Anzack’s fate. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img