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Status changed for soldier killed in Iraq

Investigation shows POW was murdered

From Mike Mount
CNN Washington Bureau

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Sgt. Donald Walters' status was changed from Killed in Action to POW - Murdered.
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U.S. military officials say a soldier thought to have been killed in combat in Iraq was instead killed by his Iraqi captors.
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A soldier thought to have been killed in combat in the opening days of Operation Iraqi Freedom was instead murdered by his Iraqi captors, according to a military investigation.

Sgt. Donald Walters, part of the 507th Maintenance Company, which included Pfc. Jessica Lynch, was found to have been taken captive on March 23, 2003, when the company's convoy became lost in Nasiriya.

He was later killed by his unknown captors, according to a military criminal investigation.

Pentagon officials announced the details Thursday. Walters' status was changed by the military earlier this month from Killed in Action to POW - Murdered.

His family was notified of the change this week, military officials said.

The investigation is one of several military investigations into possible war crimes committed by Iraqis or other anti-American fighters during major combat actions.

Ten ongoing criminal investigations are connected to other soldiers killed in the 507th ambush.

Walters' investigation is the first to be near completion.

Officials did not know if the same people that captured three members of the 507th alive after the ambush were responsible for Walters' murder.

Military officials could not say if any other investigations from the war had changed the status of a service member's death.

With the change of status, Walters' family receives additional benefits from the military.

Military officials said the intent of the investigation is to bring guilty parties to justice, but said to date they knew of nobody who had been brought in by the U.S. military.


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