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Body of Col. Higgins Arrives in U.S.

December 25, 1991| Associated Press

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. — The body of Lt. Col. William R. Higgins returned home Tuesday, and his widow said she will let his captors be judged by a greater force.

"There's got to be someone that's greater than you and me to judge a man who will kidnap, torture and murder an unarmed United Nations peacekeeper . . . and if I have to, I'm willing to wait for that judgment," Marine Maj. Robin Higgins said in a television interview.

Higgins was one of eight Westerners known to have died in captivity since the hostage ordeal began in Lebanon in 1984.

The last living American held captive, Terry A. Anderson, chief Middle East correspondent of the Associated Press, was freed Dec. 4. As the hostages returned one by one to a jubilant homecoming, Robin Higgins said, she could only turn away in pain.

"I know there was a great joyous outcry, as well there should be," she said on another show. "But it was too painful for me to watch because I knew my turn would come and it would not be a happy one."

A C-141 cargo jet carrying Higgins' remains arrived at Dover Air Force Base from Rhein-Main Air Base in Germany.

Her husband's return in a coffin was "a final event in some ways, something that we've waited for and something that we need to do in order to know for sure and to set this behind us and to go on with our lives," she said.

Higgins, a public affairs officer at the Marine Reserve Center in New Orleans, learned Monday--her 41st birthday and the couple's 14th wedding anniversary--that the body dumped last weekend in Beirut was that of her husband.

The body will be transferred later this week to Andrews Air Force Base for an honors ceremony. Burial will be at the Quantico Marine Base in Virginia.

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