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National Archives

Public Papers - 1989

Statement by Press Secretary Fitzwater on the Execution of Lieutenant Colonel William R. Higgins


The Federal Bureau of Investigation today released the results of forensic examinations of the videotape purported to be of Lieutenant Colonel Higgins. Mrs. Higgins was informed of the results by the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Al Gray. President Bush called Mrs. Higgins at about 2 p.m. to offer his support and encouragement. The President said the U.S. Government will continue to do all it can to obtain a full accounting of what happened to her husband.

Note: Lt. Col. William R. Higgins, USMC, chief of the U.N. peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon, was kidnaped on February 17, 1988, and executed by pro-Iranian terrorists on July 31, 1989. After examining a videotape released by the terrorists, FBI forensic experts and pathologists concluded that, although a positive identification could not be made, the person depicted in the videotape probably was Lieutenant Colonel Higgins and that he was ``within a reasonable degree of medical certainty'' dead.

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