Friday, May 25, 2007

For Slain Soldier’s Family, 2 Awful Nightmares, One Real

LOS ANGELES, May 24 — For the family and friends of Pfc. Joseph J. Anzack Jr., found dead Wednesday in Iraq nearly two weeks after being captured with two other soldiers in an ambush, the anguish came with a devastating twist: This was the second time in just four weeks that they had gotten word he was dead.

A month ago rumors surfaced in Torrance, the middle-class Los Angeles suburb where he grew up, that Private Anzack, 20, had been killed. Calls went out to the Army and the Red Cross before he himself finally brought relief by telephoning home.

Then came the ambush, on May 12, and the Army’s identifying him and the two other missing soldiers. As American forces’ vast search for them continued, a body was found Wednesday floating in the Euphrates River. It bore a tattoo on one arm.