- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 1, 2005

BAGHDAD (AP) — A Web site posted a photograph of what it said was a kidnapped U.S. soldier, but doubts were quickly raised about its authenticity, and the U.S. military said no soldiers were missing.

An American toy manufacturer said the figure in the photo resembled one of its military action figures, originally produced for sale at U.S. bases in Kuwait.

The statement about the abduction appeared on a Web site on which militants’ statements are often posted and was in the name of a group that has taken responsibility for previous kidnappings, the Mujahedeen Brigades.

The Arabic text, however, contained several misspellings and repetitions.

Staff Sgt. Nick Minecci, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, said “no units have reported anyone missing.”

The photo showed a figure dressed in desert fatigues, wearing a vest and knee pads, and with a gun pointed to his head. All the items are similar to those that come in a box with the action figure, named “Cody.”

The figure in the photo has its arms behind its body, as if tied, and is propped against a concrete surface. Hanging on the wall is a black piece of cloth with the Islamic profession of faith written on it in white letters.

The figure appeared stiff and expressionless. The statement said he was named “John Adam.”

Liam Cusack of the toy manufacturer Dragon Models USA Inc. said the image bore a striking resemblance to the black version of its Cody figure.

“It is our doll. … To me, it looks definitely like it is,” Mr. Cusack said. “Everything the guy is wearing is exactly what comes with our figure. If you look at the two pictures side by side, it’d be a huge coincidence.”

The company, based in City of Industry, Calif., produced 4,000 of the figures in 2003 for the U.S. military for sale in its Kuwait bases. It was never sold in the United States but is traded online among collectors, sometimes to use in highly realistic dioramas, he said.

The only American soldier known to have been taken hostage is Pfc. Keith M. Maupin, who was shown in a video in April being held by militants. A later video purported to show his slaying, but it could not be confirmed, and the military still lists him as missing.

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