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Kristian Menchaca
May 29, 1983(1983-05-29) – June 19, 2006 (aged 23)
Place of birth Brownsville, Texas
Place of death Iraq
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Rank Private First Class
Unit 1st Battalion, 502d Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)
Battles/wars Post-invasion Iraq

Kristian Menchaca (May 29, 1983–June 19, 2006), Brownsville, Texas, was a United States Private First Class of the United States Army tortured, killed, and mutilated by Al-Qaeda in Iraq. He was married to Christina Menchaca of Big Spring in September 2005, before he was deployed to Iraq.


Military life

Menchaca was one of two U.S. soldiers seized by the Mujahideen Shura Council during an attack that left a third soldier Spc. David J. Babineau shot to death on a roadside checkpoint on June 16, 2006, in Youssifiyah, Iraq - an area known as the Triangle of Death. Menchaca was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 502d Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky. PFC Thomas Lowell Tucker also went missing in that same incident. Residents in the area were offered $100,000 for any information leading to the finding of the soldiers but they refused.

On June 20, 2006, military sources reported that the bodies believed to be Tucker and Menchaca were found in Youssifiyah. The bodies of two U.S. soldiers were mutilated and booby-trapped, with IED's on the road leading to them. Senior Iraqi general Major General Abdul-Aziz Mohammed told Reuters[1] that the men were tortured and killed in a barbaric way. Relatives of Menchaca reported they had been notified that his body had been found. Mujahedeen Shura Council, a group linked to al Qaeda said in their statement: "We announce the good news to our Islamic nation that God's will was executed and the two crusader animals we had in captivity were slaughtered"..."And God has given our Emir, Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, the good fortune of carrying out the legitimate court's command in person." Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman, when asked about the claim by the Shura Council that it was holding the soldiers, said they have no independent confirmation of that report. Another US soldier was killed and eight were wounded during the search operations.[2][3]

On July 10, 2006, a video showing the bodies of Kristian Menchaca and Thomas Tucker was posted on an extremist website, purportedly by al-Qaida in Iraq. Although the video does not show the actual executions, it shows the two corpses laid out on a road and being taunted by the alleged captors, who present the head of Thomas Tucker to the camera like a trophy, and stomp on the head of Kristian Menchaca. It was widely reported in July 2006 that a Jordanian man, 'Diyar Ismail Mahmoud', a.k.a 'Abu al-Afghani', alleged as being behind the killing and mutilation of Menchaca and Tucker, had himself been killed in a firefight with Iraqi security forces.[4] The Mujahideen Shura Council later claimed the killings to be in revenge for the rape and murder of Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi on 12 March.[5]

On September 23, 2006, a second mutilation video of the two soldiers was broadcasted on the internet. It shows the two soldiers being dragged on the streets and their bodies being set on fire. Thomas's head is kicked by an insurgent.

Family criticizes U.S. Government

Mario Vasquez, the uncle of Kristian Menchaca, stated that he and the family heard about his nephew's death by watching television, when Iraqi Maj. Gen. Abdul-Aziz Mohammed announced the finding in a statement early Tuesday June 20, 2006.[6] Ken MacKenzie, another uncle, stated that "The U.S. government did not have a plan in place, my nephew has paid for it with his life. The government should have offered a $100 million reward and offered to exchange mujahideen detainees for the soldiers' lives. It seized enough money from Saddam Hussein to afford it."[7]

Execution video

On July 11, 2006, the Mujahideen Shura Council released a graphic video showing the bodies of PFC Thomas Lowell Tucker and PFC Kristian Menchaca, who were kidnapped, tortured and beheaded by insurgents.

Iraqi Judicial Proceedings

In October 2008, an Iraqi judge sentenced Ibrahim Karim Muhammed Salih al-Qaraghuli to death for the abduction, torture, and murder of Menchaca and Tucker.[8] An expert witness stated that al-Qaraghuli's fingerprints matched photographs of bloody prints found on the front panel of the truck from which the two men were dragged.[9] Two other men were acquitted and released due to a lack of evidence.[9]

See also


External links



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