- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 23, 2004

MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) — The family of hostage Jack Hensley has received confirmation that the headless body handed over to U.S. officials in Iraq is his, a family spokesman said yesterday.

The family was told the news yesterday, the day Mr. Hensley would have turned 49, Cobb County police spokesman Robert Quigley said outside Mr. Hensley’s Marietta home.

The body was handed over to U.S. authorities in Baghdad, the U.S. Embassy said.

In an interview earlier in the day on NBC’s “Today” program, Ty Hensley said his brother’s wife, Pati, was “extraordinarily devastated.”

“She is a widow now,” Mr. Hensley said. “She is a mother of a 13-year-old daughter. She’s also a caregiver of two mothers. What has fallen upon her is an extraordinary amount of weight.”

The discovery of the body came a day after a posting on an Islamic Web site claimed that an al Qaeda-linked group in Iraq had slain a second American, presumably Mr. Hensley. It came a day after the group said it beheaded fellow U.S. hostage Eugene Armstrong.

The White House offered condolences to the Hensley family yesterday.

“Their strength during a difficult time is amazing. The terrorists want to shake our will, but they will not,” said White House spokesman Scott McClellan. “It shows the true barbaric nature of the enemies we face in Iraq, that they would take innocent civilian life. They will be defeated. They will not prevail.”

Mr. Hensley, Mr. Armstrong and an Englishman, Kenneth Bigley, were kidnapped last Thursday from a house that the three civil engineers, working for the construction firm Gulf Services Co., shared in an upscale Baghdad neighborhood.

Outside the Hensleys’ suburban home, a trickle of friends came Tuesday to give condolences to Mr. Hensley’s wife and daughter. One neighbor delivered food wrapped in foil.

“Jack’s agenda was to help the people of Iraq,” said Ken Cole, a 19-year friend.

The captors, a militant Islamic group called Tawhid and Jihad, demanded the release of female prisoners from American prisons in Iraq and set a 24-hour deadline.

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