CINCINNATI – The Army said Monday it cannot determine whether a video that appeared to show a captured soldier being shot by militants was legitimate, and said the figure in the grainy video could have been a dummy made to look like a human being.
An Arab satellite station broadcast the video in June, reporting that the man being shot in the head was Spc. Keith M. Maupin (search), 21, who was captured when his convoy was attacked west of Baghdad.
Department of Defense officials said they were unable to confirm the report despite repeated analysis of the tape. Military officials ended their analysis and regard the tape as inconclusive, Army spokesman Maj. Mark Magalski said Monday.
"It was at night. It was very grainy. You never hear the person on the video. You never see the person's face," Magalski said. "Last but not least, there's been no body. There's been no body associated with that video."
Magalski said it could not be determined if the figure purportedly executed in the video was a person or a dummy.
Maupin's family members, who live near Batavia about 15 miles east of Cincinnati, issued a statement Monday saying they hope that the soldier is still alive, although they have received no news about his fate.
The statement was released four months to the day after Maupin was taken captive on April 9. A week later, Al-Jazeera television station broadcast a videotape showing the soldier sitting on the floor surrounded by five masked men holding automatic rifles.
In June, Al-Jazeera broadcast another video showing a blindfolded man sitting on the ground. The station said that in the next scene, gunmen shoot the man in the back of the head, in front of a hole dug in the ground. It did not show the killing.
Maupin's family celebrated his 21st birthday last month by eating cake and raising a POW/MIA flag at the home of his mother, Carolyn Maupin.
The Army lists Maupin's status as "captured."