Body Recovered in Iraq Identified as That of Abducted American Contractor

A body recovered in Iraq was identified Wednesday as that of Jonathon Cote, an Army veteran who was working as a contractor when he was kidnapped with four others more than a year ago.

"Mr. Cote's remains are in the United States and will be returned to his family," said a statement by FBI agent Richard Kolko in Washington.

Cote's father said on his blog that his 25-year-old son's body was positively identified at Dover Air Force Base after being recovered Saturday, but that the family had not received autopsy results.

On the Web site, Francis Cote asked reporters to refrain from calling to allow the family "to grieve in peace." He scheduled a news conference for Thursday.

Jonathon Cote, of the Buffalo suburb of Getzville, was working for Crescent Security Group when he was kidnapped with three other Americans and an Austrian on Nov. 16, 2006. In all, six contractors were kidnapped in two separate incidents over a two-month span.

Their case received attention in March when the severed fingers of five of the men were sent to the U.S. military in Iraq.

The FBI earlier identified the remains of CSG employees Paul Johnson-Reuben of Minneapolis; Joshua Munns of Redding, Calif.; John Roy Young of Kansas City, Mo.; Bert Nussbaumer of Austria; and Ronald Withrow of Roaring Springs, Texas, who was working for JPI Worldwide and abducted on Jan. 5, 2007.

After the bodies of the others were recovered, Francis Cote said he held out hope that his son had escaped his captors and was in hiding.

Cote and the other Crescent employees spoke briefly and appeared uninjured in a video believed to have been recorded in December 2006 and delivered to The Associated Press in Iraq in early January 2007.

Cote, who was dressed in civilian clothes and sitting down, said on the video: "I can't be released until the prisoners from the American jails and the British jails are released."

The men were abducted when suspected militiamen in Iraqi police uniforms ambushed a convoy of trucks they were escorting on a highway near the southern border city of Safwan.

Cote graduated from high school in 2001 and served in Afghanistan with the 82nd Airborne Division.