Sailor’s Relative Grateful for Closure

Justin McNeley
North County Times

One relative of the U.S. sailor killed by his Taliban captors said she’s grateful to at least have closure, unlike the Washington state family still waiting for word on their loved one still missing.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin McNeley, 30, has family in Arizona, Colorado and Encinitas. On Monday, family members learned McNeley had been killed after a Taliban ambush Friday in the Logar Province.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Jarod Newlove of Washington state was with McNeley at the time of the attack and is presumed to be in the hands of the Taliban. The Pentagon is not confirming that Newlove was captured.

McNeley’s step-grandmother, Marion Bartscherer, spoke to a Denver television reporter about the last time she saw McNeley.

"I just saw him on Mother's Day and I thought what a handsome guy he is,” she said.” He said 'I have to go back to the war, but I will be back in August,' but of course he won't."

Bartscherer said she feels for Newlove’s family, who are still waiting for any word on the welfare of the 25-year old sailor.

"Actually, I think knowing, as bad as it is, is still better knowing what's going on, than sitting there wondering if it's my son alive, or the other one,” said Marion Bartscherer. “ I think putting a little closure to it, a bad closure, but at least it's easier going on than not knowing."

McNeley is the son of Encinitas Fire Marshal George McNeley.

Justin McNeley's body is being flown to Dover Air Force Base, but he will be laid to rest in Colorado.

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