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The New York Times article Blair wrote which plagiarised one in the San Antonio Express-News and sparked the investigation

[What follows is the entire New York Times article, written by Blair and published on 26 April 2003. The article copied quotes and details from an earlier San Antonio Express-News article and sparked the investigation into his methods and previous articles.

The article can be accessed on the paper's website here. The article is The New York Times' copyright but is published here in full. As with all other articles on this site, I ask the publishers to recognise the historical value of having their work readily accessible in one place. This site seeks no commercial gain, only to serve as a resource for the future.

Any questions, queries should be directed to kieren@jaysonblair.com.]

26 April, 2003

Family Waits, Now Alone, for a Missing Soldier

by Jayson Blair

LOS FRESNOS, Tex., April 25 -- Juanita Anguiano points proudly to the pinstriped couches, the tennis bracelet in its red case and the Martha Stewart furniture out on the patio. She proudly points up to the ceiling fan, the lamp for Mother's Day, the entertainment center that arrived last Christmas and all the other gifts from her only son, Edward, a 24-year-old Army mechanic.

She talks about the obligation her son felt to give back to his mother, who raised him and his two sisters alone on the salary of a teacher's aide here in a desolate stretch of South Texas . It is much easier to talk about these things, she says, than the fact that her son is missing.

''I wish I could talk to a mother who is in the same shoes as I am, who has her son missing in action,'' Ms. Anguiano said.

But there are none. Sergeant Anguiano, who was traveling with the Army's 507th Maintenance Company on March 23 when it came under attack on the outskirts of Nasiriya, is the only soldier who remains unaccounted for in the war in Iraq .

The Anguiano family's wait could end with grim news in days or drag for years like those of the families of the missing from Vietnam , Korea and World War II. Forensic scientists are testing a set of remains found with those of eight soldiers traveling with the 507th, but so far have been unable to establish an identity or even if they are those of an American soldier.

Relatives of the members of the 507th who were released by Iraqi forces last week could rejoice after a month of fear and anguish. The family of Pfc. Jessica D. Lynch, who was rescued in a Nasiriya hospital in early April, could take comfort in the United States ' determination to leave no soldier behind. The families of those who were killed could at least begin their mourning.

But it has been much different for Ms. Anguiano and her daughters, who say they do not know what to feel or how to feel. They jump and feel knots in their stomachs each time the phone rings, each time there is a knock on the door. Isolated as much by their unique circumstances as by their location here in the southernmost tip of Texas , the Anguianos describe the place that they are in as a painful purgatory.

A man from the Army visits almost every day, but no new information has come lately. They had hoped after the rescue of Private Lynch that Army debriefers would be able to glean information on the whereabouts of Sergeant Anguiano.

They dreaded news that eight bodies were found in a shallow grave after Private Lynch's rescue, and quietly -- with what they describe as a sense of guilt -- rejoiced when it was determined that Sergeant Anguiano's was not among them.

Army officials say they are continuing to try to identify a ninth body that was found in the grave in Nasiriya and that has been taken to the military mortuary at Dover Air Force Base. Roberto Amoroso, a spokesman for Fort Stewart , Ga. , where Sergeant Anguiano was based, said that regardless of those efforts, military officials will continue to search for Sergeant Anguiano until they have confirmation that he is dead or in enemy hands.

Sergeant Anguiano was born in California and grew up here in the Rio Grande Valley , where many of his mother's relatives lived. He never knew his father, and was raised -- along with his sisters, Jennifer, 19, and Becky, 16, -- by relatives and friends, including an uncle, his grandfather and a college professor who became a mentor.

Sergeant Anguiano struggled academically at Hanna High School in nearby Brownsville , relatives say, but persisted, joining the Reserve Officers Training Corps, playing football and graduating in 1998.

After graduation, he took a job at a poultry factory in Arkansas , but quit after several months of what relatives say he described as brutally repetitive work. They say he returned here and enrolled in community college, but after three semesters joined the Army.

He enlisted in August 2000, his family says, for many of the same reasons as others traveling with the 507th -- a group of supply clerks, mechanics and a cook. For the most part, they were looking for good jobs, a way to see the world, a way to obtain a college education.

Vicente Anguiano Jr., the uncle who helped raise him, says Sergeant Anguiano had hoped to obtain a college education while in the Army and then join the Coast Guard. His first combat assignment, his relatives say, after being assigned to the Third Forward Support Battalion, Third Infantry Division, at Fort Stewart , was in Kosovo, where in 2001 American soldiers were helping to pick up the pieces after the conflict there.

He returned to Fort Stewart later that year, where he found a girlfriend whom family members say he had talked about marrying. ''He struggled a lot,'' Vicente Anguiano said, ''but never gave up, and that allowed him to accomplish so much in the last few years.''

He last came home in December, family members said, but wrote several letters about his plans for the future after being sent to Kuwait .

Sergeant Anguiano was among two soldiers from Fort Stewart traveling with the 507th, which is based at Fort Bliss , Tex. , on the Sunday they came under attack. It would take seven days after the attack for them to receive official confirmation that he was among the missing, his relatives say.

Army officials have told the family that they believe Sergeant Anguiano was traveling in a light armored vehicle, perhaps a wrecker, and probably with Sgt. George E. Buggs, 31, of Barnwell , S.C. , who was the other soldier from Fort Stewart . Sgt. Buggs's body was among those found in the shallow grave by the commandos who rescued Private Lynch.

Jennifer Anguiano says she finds herself increasingly irritated by everything, from the Army to the sound of happy music on the radio, and acknowledges that hope comes and goes in waves. ''I'm just not feeling a lot of hope right now,'' she says.

At first, Jennifer says, everyone in the family reacted to the news by putting their lives on hold, but then her mother encouraged them to ''begin living again.'' They held their normal Easter weekend celebration. But it was interrupted as they watched the televised homecoming of the seven prisoners of war -- five from the 507th who were captured in Nasiriya and released near Kirkuk , and two helicopter pilots. ''It was tough because my brother wasn't among them,'' Jennifer says.

At moments, Ms. Anguiano says, she can picture her son in an Iraqi village, like the ones she has seen on television, surrounded by animals and the Iraqi people he has befriended. At other times, she worries that she will learn of his death from television, before Army officials can make the long drive to their home.

She is confused, she says, as to whether the military is still searching for her son.

''I don't know whether they think he is missing and presumed dead, or missing and probably alive,'' she said. ''They just don't make it clear. I don't know if they can.''

She cried when Jennifer showed her a package from a family in Macedon, N.Y. It contained a blue pillow with a tag that read, ''Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible and achieves the impossible.''

Her mind wanders, she says, to a night 19 years ago when Becky and Edward rode with her in the back seat of a car with the windows rolled down. Her son, she says, fell asleep hugging her, and at that moment, everything, she said, seemed peaceful and safe. She says she tries to put on a good face for her daughters, saying that her hope will not die.

She points to the case of the Navy pilot Michael Scott Speicher, who was presumed dead in the 1991 war with Iraq and then reclassified as missing in action years later. On Wednesday, Mr. Speicher's initials, ''MSS,'' were found carved on the wall of a prison in Baghdad .

''If they can still have hope, I will still have hope,'' Ms. Anguiano said.

As she stood outside her small house, where a prisoner of war flag flies and there is a poster filled with signatures and prayers, Ms. Anguiano cried. She said that while she still might have hope, sleep these days came only in the form of a pill that the doctors gave her.