NEW YORK – Rescued POW Jessica Lynch (search) says she can't remember anything about her time in captivity in Iraq -- a huge obstacle for military investigators who were hoping the 19-year-old soldier would be the key to revealing Iraqi war crimes, Fox News has learned.
Pfc. Lynch and the 507th Maintenance Company (search) she was traveling with were ambushed on March 23 near Nasiriyah (search), a major crossing point on the Euphrates River northwest of Basra in Iraq. Five were held captive for three weeks until U.S. Marines rescued them and two helicopter pilots south of Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit.
Lynch, of Palestine, W. Va., was rescued April 1 at a hospital behind Iraqi lines after several Iraqis supplied information to U.S. troops about her whereabouts. The bodies of nine members of the 507th were found during Lynch's rescue.
Lynch suffered a head wound, spinal injury and fractures to her right arm, both legs and her right foot and ankle. She is being treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.
But U.S. government sources told Fox News that they are concerned about Lynch's mental and physical state, saying she can't remember anything after the moment the 507th was ambushed nor can she remember anything about her days in captivity and the brutality U.S. military officials believe she endured.
Officials hope to help her regain her memory, since it's important for her to be able to provide evidence for war crimes (search) and to provide details for the family members of her fellow soldiers who want to know how their loved ones died.
U.S. officials say Lynch most likely knows something about how her nine comrades were killed.
But one U.S. official said: "she basically has amnesia, and has mentally blocked out the horrible things we strongly believe she went through."
"This is a very sad thing about Jessica but it's not unexpected," Dr. Isadore Rosenfeld told Fox News Sunday.
Rosenfeld said Lynch is likely suffering from something called total global amnesia (search), which often occurs after someone endures a traumatic emotional and/or physical stress.
"These things usually take months -- sometimes years - but usually months to eventually clear up," and the patient recovers, Rosenfeld said.
Asked if Lynch would eventually remember details of her ordeal, Rosenfeld said: "I would expect that she would, yes."
The military has had Lynch talking to psychiatrists but they may soon bring in additional people, including others from her military unit who survived the ambush, to help refresh her memory. They say she "has to be brought back to reality," since she may be the last living witness to war crimes in Iraq against those U.S. soldiers.
Physically, sources say Lynch appears to have been beaten up pretty badly and is still in immense pain.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, speaking to reporters in Washington Sunday following a TV appearance, said little when asked what he knows about Lynch's condition.
"I believe that's a matter for her doctors and her family and not for us to talk about," Rumsfeld said.
Fox News' Rita Cosby contributed to this report.