|From North State News redding.com
Body of Joshua Munns to arrive Friday; April 12 funeral set
By Jim Schultz
Thursday, April 3, 2008
ANDERSON - The body of Joshua Munns, the Anderson man kidnapped and murdered in Iraq, is tentatively scheduled to be returned to California on Friday.
The Anderson man's body, found last month after he was kidnapped more than a year ago, will likely be flown to the Sacramento International Airport because there are no commercial airline flights that transport bodies to the Redding Municipal Airport, his father said Wednesday.
Mark Munns, 45, said he intends to be at the airport when the body of his 25-year-old son arrives from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, but it's not yet known when that flight is due to arrive.
A hearse or service vehicle from Allen & Dahl Funeral Chapel in Anderson, which is handling the arrangements, will return the body to Shasta County.
Although the elder Munns said he has yet to be told of the condition of his son's body, he suspects that he was badly beaten by his mysterious captors and has been dead for several months.
Mark Munns said he has lost faith in government officials' truthfulness and he would like to have an independent medical examiner inspect the body to try to ensure that it is his son.
"I want to make sure it's Josh," he said. "If I'm going to bury my son, I want to know damn well that it's him.
The body would then be cremated, he said.
A funeral service for Munns, a 2001 Anderson High School graduate, is set for April 12 at the Anderson-Cottonwood Neighborhood Church on Rhonda Road.
The noon service will be conducted by the Rev. Brad Manley of the church.
Burial with military honors will follow at 2:30 p.m. at the Northern California Veterans Cemetery in Igo and a motorcycle escort will be provided by the Patriot Guard Riders.
A reception after the funeral is tentatively being planned at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 9650 in Anderson, but that event has yet to be finalized, Mark Munns said.
Joshua Munns, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2001 to 2005, was a security contractor working for the Kuwait-based Crescent Security Group when he and four others were kidnapped on Nov. 16, 2006, by a group of masked and armed men at a fake checkpoint near the Iraq-Kuwait border.
It was learned on March 21 that four bodies had been found near Basra, and it was confirmed last Thursday that one of those bodies was Joshua Munns.
His father said he can't help believing that the families of the hostages were misled by government officials and that the search for the kidnapped men was much too slow. He said the victims' families will continue to seek answers.
"We have questions," he said. "My feeling is that they knew these guys were dead months ago and would not tell us."
But he's not sure what course might be taken to try to get those answers he and the other families want answered, Mark Munns said.
"We will put him to rest and then decide what we will do next," he said.
Meanwhile, 17-year-old Ashley Brown, a senior at the Anderson New Technology High School, is planning a fundraiser at the school Friday night to try to help the Munns family.
The teenager, a friend of the family, who had also placed donation boxes at Shasta Outlets in Anderson earlier this year to aid them, is showing the movie "Alvin and the Chipmunks."
The fundraiser, which begins at 7 p.m., is open only to students at the school, she said.
"She's a sweet girl," Munns said.