Remains of First U.S. Soldier Captured in Iraq Located
BILL WOLFF: From NPR News in New York, this is the Bryant Park Project.
ALISON STEWART, host:
Overlooking historic Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan, we are live from the NPR Studios. This is the Bryant Park Project from NPR News. News, information, Final Four. I'm Alison Stewart.
RACHEL MARTIN, host:
And I'm Rachel Martin. It is Monday, March 31st, 2008. Ali, watch a little basketball over the weekend?
STEWART: I did watch a little bit of basketball, although I got really distracted, because we went away for one night, and we have this cat, named Sonny Liston after the boxer, of course, Bill being a sports guy. And we brought Sonny back a present because we thought he might be kind of mad at us and maybe leave a present around the house.
So, Bill goes out to get a present. He comes back with this scratch pad that says "doublewide." It's a doublewide scratch pad full of catnip. So, as we are watching the game, I'm just looking down at the cat, which is completely...
MARTIN: Is in cat heaven?
STEWART: Oh, asleep on it, licking it, scratching it. Who knew they made doublewides for kitties?
MARTIN: It's really great for Sonny. So, he clearly was not watching the basketball game either.
STEWART: No. He didn't really care about Memphis or UCLA. He just cared about doublewide catnip. On the show today, the Olympic Torch arrived in Beijing to much fanfare, very little protest, just the way officials in Beijing planned it. The Chinese were afraid there might be protest there over Tibet. Today, we'll get a little catch-up with a reporter who spent some time in Tibet reporting on what's been going on there.
MARTIN: Also, politics, it just doesn't go away. The Democrats came out baring teeth and claws over the weekend. We will talk with our regular politics guy, Jim VandeHei from politico.com. He'll help us round up a weekend of fireworks.
STEWART: And you will look into the magic of the audio book.
MARTIN: The magic of the audio book. The real story is it's not really that complicated. I mean...
STEWART: But it's not that easy, either.
MARTIN: It's a mixed bag. Who knew?
STEWART: I knew.
MARTIN: Some parts are predictable and some parts, you know, they are a little more complicated, and I went with our video producer Win Rosenfeld to go check out how you do this process. So we'll have a little story on that.
STEWART: All right. We'll also get today's headlines in just a minute. But first...
Mrs. CAROLYN MAUPIN: It hurts, it hurts. After you go through almost four years of hope, and then this is what happens. It's like a let-down to me.
MARTIN: That was the mother of a soldier missing for nearly four years in Iraq reacting to word that her son's remains have been found. That was Carolyn Maupin, whose son Sergeant Keith "Matt" Maupin disappeared after his convoy was ambushed back in 2004. According to CNN, his remains were found last week and identified through DNA testing.
STEWART: Here is Sergeant Maupin's father Keith on how he got word of his son's fate.
Mr. KEITH MAUPIN: After years of prayer and hope, we learned today that Matt died in captivity. Army officials from Washington visited us to personally bring the news.
STEWART: A formal announcement from the military is expected today.
MARTIN: Last night, residents of Sergeant Maupin's hometown, Batavia, Ohio, held a candlelight vigil entitled "Lighting the Way Home," one of many such events they have held for Matt Maupin. Carolyn Maupin spoke there to WCPO TV.
Ms. MAUPIN: You know, at first, the "Lighting the Way Home" was, for me, was lighting the way home for Matt so I could hug him again. But I guess, in another way, it has led his way home, hasn't it?
STEWART: Matt Maupin was a 20-year-old private first class when he was captured April 9th, 2004, after his fuel convoy was ambushed west of Baghdad. Al Jazeera aired a videotape a week later showing Maupin sitting on the floor surrounded by five masked men holding automatic rifles.
(Soundbite of Al Jazeera video)
PFC KEITH MATTHEW MAUPIN (U.S. Army): I'm Keith Matthew Maupin...
Unidentified Man (Al Jazeera reporter): (Speaking Arabic).
MARTIN: Maupin was the first American soldier declared missing-in-action during the Iraq war. Two months after his capture, Al Jazeera aired another tape purporting to show a U.S. soldier being shot, but the dark and grainy tape showed only the back of the victim's head and not the actual shooting.
STEWART: Maupin's parents lobbied to keep their son listed as "missing-captured," and met with President Bush several times over the last four years. After Maupin's capture, he was promoted to specialist, then to sergeant.
MARTIN: Three U.S. soldiers remain listed as "missing-captured." Specialist Ahmed al-Taayie of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Private Byron Fouty of Waterford, Michigan, and Specialist Alex Jimenez of Lawrence, Massachusetts.
STEWART: You can follow this story throughout the day on npr.org. Now, let's get some more of today's headlines.
WOLFF: This is NPR.
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