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Grieving family gets word that loved one survived blast

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U.S. soldiers inspect damage at the site of this week's bombing at U.N. headquarters in Baghdad.

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From the Wolf Blitzer Reports staff in Washington:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- It didn't take long for the horrible news to filter from Baghdad to the families of those killed in the United Nations bombing.

For the Manuel family, the news indeed came too soon.

"I didn't want to feel anything at that point," Vladimir Manuel says of his reaction to the news that his mother, Marilyn Manuel a 54-year-old mother of four and an 18-year U.N. employee had been killed in the blast.

"I told them, I don't believe this. I want to see her. I don't believe you. I don't believe. That's all I did say," remembers Marilyn's husband Benjamin.

Her family began making funeral arrangements.

Then, in the pre-dawn hours Thursday, Manuel's family in New York got a phone call from Iraq.

"It was amazing," says Marilyn's son Frederick. "My sister and I had answered the phone and the voice was strong, but the signal was weak. And we couldn't hear her, I said, 'Hello, hello.' She basically said, 'Rick, it's Mom.' And I'm like, 'Who? Mom?' I know. And once I said that, basically everyone came running out."

Marilyn Manuel was alive. Injured, but alive.

It's not clear what led to the confusion.

Manuel reportedly borrowed a cell phone from a nurse at a makeshift hospital to call her family back home, not knowing they were grieving.

"When we heard her voice, it was very clear. We wanted to make sure we told her, 'We love you'. It was like a chance to say what you want to say, even though we always say that to each other all the time, with more fervor and meaning, we just said 'We love you very much, we love you, just get home,'" says Vanessa Manuel-Mazzullo, Marilyn's daughter.

Manuel was an aide to the top U.N. envoy to Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, who was killed in Tuesday's bombing. As for Marilyn, the family says she'll be flown home soon.

"We knew my mom touched a lot of lives," says Vanessa. "We're so proud of her."


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