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Jimenez Family Waits

Army Specialist Alex Jimenez has been missing for five months. The 25-year-old from Lawrence was captured on May 12th in an attack south of Baghdad.

Next month, his fellow soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division are due to come home after a 15-month tour, without Alex.

His parents remain hopeful that he will eventually return. WBUR's Bianca Vazquez Toness recently spoke with them and has more on this story.

Audio for this story will be available on WBUR's web site later today.

Text of story:

BIANCA VAZQUEZ TONESS: Andy Jimenez's house in Lawrence is decorated with a giant POW flag with his son's picture.

ANDY JIMENEZ: In Spanish...
English translation: They're still looking for him. I think they've done a good job. They've found some of his things which means they may find some clues as to where he is.

TONESS: Recently troops from Alex Jimenez's batallion found his weapons 7 miles from where he was captured. But there was no sign of Alex himself. His unit from the 10th Mountain Division will soon return to their home base in Fort Drum, New York. Andy Jimenez starts crying when he talks about them coming home without Alex.

JIMENEZ: In Spanish...
English translation: Thank God they're coming home. The friends of Alex's parents will see their children and the troops will see their parents. But at the same time it's sad. I don't have the courage to go meet them when they arrive.

TONESS: Alex's parents, who are both from the Dominican Republic, are divorced but remain close. They weren't happy when their son said he wanted to join the Army, but they supported his choice. They said he was fascinated with war movies, karate, and camouflage.
After his first tour in Iraq, Alex wrote and recorded this song about fighting in the war.

ALEX JIMENEZ: Choppers hover, and we're looking for cover, raise up your boot, getting ready to shoot.......

TONESS: According to his mother, Maria Duran, who spoke to me by phone from her home in Queens, the 25-year-old is a gentle guy.

MARIA DURAN: In Spanish...
English translation: Alex is calm, and obedient despite his age. He always asked me for advice and we always spoke to each other as friends. He is loving and affectionate.

TONESS: When Alex was leaving for his first tour in Iraq, Duran gave him an address book filled with the contact information for dozens of cousins, aunts and uncles.

DURAN: In Spanish...
English translation: He never forgot those numbers. He sent cards, he called people at 2 or 3 in the morning, whenever he had time. And now, we miss him so much that we're almost going crazy.

TONESS: During that first tour, Alex was wounded in a grenade attack. So when he was called up to return to Iraq, Duran says her family wrote a letter to the Army saying he shouldn't go since he was hurt the first time.

But Alex healed and he went back to Iraq. Before he left, Alex and his family adopted an anthem for him. It's a merengue version of "I Will Survive".

TONESS: Alex Jimenez's parents say they believe their son is still alive.

This program aired on October 24, 2007. The audio for this program is not available.

Bianca Vázquez Toness Twitter Reporter
Bianca Vázquez Toness was formerly a report for WBUR.

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