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article imageSoldier kidnapped outside Baghdad, still missing after four months

By Cynthia Trowbridge     Sep 2, 2007 in Crime
Who is Byron Fouty the young soldier missing now since May 12? Not only is he a soldier but he is a friend, a brother, an actor and a son. The main thing to family and friends is, he's still missing.
Pvt.Byron Fouty was kidnapped on May 12 outside of Baghdad, Iraq along with Spec. Alex Jimenez, 25, of Massachusetts and Pfc. Joseph Anzack Jr., 20, of California. On May 23 the body of Anzack's was found.
Founty was in a Humvee on a road near Baghdad when they were attacked by insurgents with homemade grenades and AK47 rifles. Besides the young men that were kidnapped there were four soldiers killed as well as an Iraqi working with the U.S. Army.
Founty, 19-years- old, has never had an easy life. As a child he floated from home to home and got used to the idea of making the best out of the tough situations he faced in life.
Founty was born in California in 1988. His parents met in Joshua Tree Calif., in 1988. Three months later his mother found that she was pregnant and was thrilled about it. She and Mike Founty lived on 5 acres before they moved to Pontiac Michigan when Byron was 6 months old.
They had never married and broke up within a few months. Hilary Meunier, Byron's mother married Gorden Dibler Jr. They had a daughter, Sarah who is now 15 years old. That marriage only lasted four years.
Byron and Sarah stayed with their father after the divorce.
Later Byron went to live with his mother. Nicholas Eastman said that he and Byron were the neighborhood runts and were teased by the other kids. They became fast friends and had each other's backs.
Eastman who is now 21 said he wishes he was able to help Byron now.
[quote]"I need to be there for him," Eastman said.
By the time Byron was 10 he had lived with his mother, his stepfather and his dad. Being small he was picked on by other kids. He turned to reading fantasy novels and joined the high school drama club. He would lose himself in the roles.
When Byron was around ten he went to live with his father, Mick Fouty, for a few years. It had been seven years since they had seen each other. He had moved to Texas but Byron needed some attention and went to live with his dad.
According to Fouty that changed his whole life around.
Byron lived with his father for about six years and was attendeing Walled Lake Central High School. He had good friends there and a good support system. His father made plans to move in with a girl friend which would have taken Byron out of the school district. Byron went to live with family friends when his father moved.
Moving around was hard on Byron, but he found a home at Walled Lake Central High School.
Byron's friends said he never did see himself as a victim.
Another friend, Ashley Tremble said he never did dwell on his troubles. She remembers that he was affectionate. and generous and was a hugger.
She said there was nothing bad in Byron.
Even though he was only 5 feet 9 inches and weighed 150 pounds he was tough and played football.
What he really loved was the drama class. Tremble and Bryon met in 2004 when they were in the play "The Mouse that Roared."
Tremble said that Byron loved the stage. He would disappear into the characters and loved the acclades that came with a good performance.
"He wasn't a typical high school guy," Tremble said. "He was a romantic."
When Byron dropped out of high school he had no money or job opportunities. The military he saw was a way to support himself.
No one knows why he dropped out of high school. He earned his GED soon after dropping out.
He went back to live with his mother and step-father then enlisted in the Army in June of 2006. His family and friends were surprised as they had never heard him talk about the military.
Gordon Dibler, 49, of Oxford is Pvt. Byron Fouty's stepdad. When Fouty graduated from boot camp at Fort Drum, N.Y., in December, Dibler drove to New York to celebrate with him. "We hugged hard," Dibler said. "It was great."
His mother said he wanted to better himself.
His friends say he had no fear about being in the military and if anyone could make it out alive he would be able to.
He was four months into his tour. He was a member of the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment of the 10th Mountain Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team.
Fouty would never have imagined his wanting to only better himself would end this way.
His family and friends wonder if he is alive is he beaten and bruised. Is he getting enough to eat.
The comfort they get is the Army's pledge to keep searching for him.
"We are getting closer every day," Spec. Shaun Gopaul, who is in Fouty's unit and part of the search, said in an e-mail from Iraq. "We all liked him here." His family says they don't eat or sleep well. But they pray and hope and wait.
And they also cry.
They think about the dreams that he had to become an actor and to go onto college.
"A part of me believes he's already gone, but I still have that hope," said his mother, Hilary Meunier, 45, who now lives in San Marco, Texas. Meunier remembers the last phone call she had from him. She said he seemed depressed and was tired of fighting.
Here is an entry from his MySpace blog dated May 12
"George W. Bush has decided that another 3 months in this (expletive) is worthwhile. So, instead of getting home in August so I can be there to see my nephew and be there for my sisters birthday, I instead get to spend yet another 90 days of my life in Iraq.
This pisses me off to a level I haven't been in a long time. Christ, what a messed up year.
• This year has been coated with nothing but bad news, very little good news shining through. Reminds me of the sun shining through a storm.
I'll break it down real quick. Spring, 2 years ago, I experienced a loss that shattered my heart. My grandmother, 68 years old and been battling cancer for 2 1/2 years, passed away. I thought my soul had literally exploded. Oh well, how could it get worse? Right? Wrong. Last June I decided to join the Army. Ha, another wrong turn. August. A friend ... no ... Brother to me decided that death was the best choice at the moment for him. He took his life and that damn near killed me."
He told his parents he was going on a mission and they wouldn't hear from him for awhile.
Then one day Meunier saw personnel from the military walking up to her house. She screamed, No, no, no.
After about a week from when Bryon was missing Mick Fouty got a call from his son's cell phone. He missed the call and there wasn't a message left.
The Army announced a few weeks later that the identification cards of Fouty and Jimenez had been found but no sign of the men.
No one has seen or heard from the Army private since he was kidnapped May 12 outside Baghdad, Iraq.
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