LOS FRESNOS, Texas – The body of a soldier found the day after a convoy was ambushed in southern Iraq was identified as Army Spc. Edward John Anguiano, the last missing soldier in Iraq, the Pentagon said Monday.
Officials used DNA tests to confirm that the remains were Anguiano, according to the soldier's grandfather, and military officials notified the family late Sunday. The grandfather said he believed Anguiano was killed during the initial attack on March 23, when he disappeared.
"What we heard is that he was ambushed," said Vicente Anguiano Sr., 72. "They found his truck, the one he drove, and it had been stripped -- tires and everything. They found a body near the truck."
Anguiano's family members gathered in this south Texas town over the Easter weekend and held out hope he would return soon. The soldier's mother, San Juanita Anguiano, "is very sad. She was not expecting him to be found dead," said the soldier's aunt, Maria Anguiano.
Anguiano, 24, was in the 3rd Infantry Combat Support Battalion out of Fort Stewart, Ga. He was traveling with the 507th Maintenance Company, a unit from Fort Bliss in El Paso, when it was attacked. Nine soldiers were killed and six, all with the 507th, were taken prisoner.
One prisoner, Pfc. Jessica Lynch, was rescued April 1. Five other soldiers were released April 13 and returned to the United States on April 19.
Seven of the dead soldiers found during Lynch's rescue were members of the 507th. An eighth was a soldier from a forward support group of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division.
Anguiano, a 1998 graduate of Hanna High School, enlisted in the Army two years ago. His sister, Jennifer Anguiano, has said her brother was a bit of a loner, but leaving the small town of Los Fresnos brought out the best in him.
Anguiano decided after joining the Army he wanted to live in the Rio Grande Valley and improve his family's lot, Jennifer Anguiano said. Their mother, San Juanita Anguiano, is a single mother and has had a tough time making ends meet.
Anguiano's grandfather said he expected it would take about a week for the body to be returned for funeral services.