The parents of Staff Sgt. Keith Matthew Maupin, who lobbied at the Pentagon and even met with President Bush about their missing son, were told Sunday of the discovery.
The military had received tips through the years from several sources as authorities continued their search for Maupin.
"This last one proved to be the most accurate as we kept getting closer and closer," said Maj. Mark Cheadle, a spokesman for the Baghdad area command. The tip was first reported by the Dayton Daily News.
The remains were found in northwest Baghdad, Cheadle said, but he could not provide any more details about the tip or when it was received.
The Army used DNA testing to identify the remains, said Keith Maupin, the soldier's father. The discovery of a shirt worn by soldiers at the time Matt Maupin was captured also helped the Army focus its search.
On Monday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates expressed sympathy to Maupin's family.
"This has been especially difficult for the Maupin family because of not knowing for almost exactly four years. So I want to extend my condolences," Gates said, speaking to reporters aboard a flight to Denmark.
The Department of Defense also announced an official change in status Monday for Maupin from missing-captured to deceased.
Maupin was a 20-year-old private first class when he was captured April 9, 2004, after his fuel convoy, part of the Bartonville, Ill.-based 724th Transportation Company, was ambushed west of Baghdad.
A week later, the Arab television network Al-Jazeera aired a videotape showing Maupin wearing camouflage and a floppy desert hat, sitting on the floor surrounded by five masked men holding automatic rifles.
That June, Al-Jazeera aired another tape purporting to show a U.S. soldier being shot. But the dark and grainy tape showed only the back of the victim's head and not the execution.
His father, Keith Maupin, still is not convinced that was his son.
"If that was Matt, I consider that's what God wanted and they couldn't hurt Matt for a long time," Maupin said Sunday. "It just took them a long time to find him."
A month after his capture, Matt Maupin was promoted to the rank of specialist. In August 2006, he was promoted to staff sergeant.
A three-star general discussed the discovery of the remains with Maupin's parents on Sunday in Batavia, a Cincinnati suburb where their son grew up.
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On Monday, Maupin's parents rode as planned in a parade observing the opening day of the baseball season. They plan to continue using Matt Maupin's name to promote their scholarship fund for children of veterans and the Yellow Ribbon Support Center, which has sent thousands of goody packages to soldiers.
"It was important to be here to let everyone know that we thank them for their support and their love of our family and for standing by Matt as they are today," Carolyn Maupin said.
Despite a light rain, the Maupins rode in an open convertible and were greeted with applause and cheers all along the parade route.
"That touched my heart," Carolyn Maupin said. "I don't think they'll forget him."
The Maupins had lobbied hard for the Army to continue searching for their son and to continue listing him as missing-captured, fearing that another designation would undermine efforts to find him.
They received regular briefings at the Pentagon, and Bush met with them whenever he visited Cincinnati.
Keith Maupin said the Army was continuing its investigation.
Four U.S. service members remain missing in Iraq: Capt. Michael Speicher, a Navy pilot, has been missing since the 1991 Persian Gulf War; Sgt. Ahmed al-Taie, a 41-year-old Iraqi-born reserve soldier from Ann Arbor, Mich., was abducted while visiting his Iraqi wife in October 2006 in Baghdad; and Pfc. Byron Fouty and Sgt. Alex Jimenez have been missing since May 12, 2007.
"After a long wait, we want to offer our most sincere condolences to Carolyn and Keith Maupin on the loss of their son," said Army Secretary Pete Geren. "I want to say this once again to the families of our other captured soldiers in Iraq, we will not stop searching for your loved ones."
On the Net:
Press; By TERRY KINNEY]
Associated Press writer Robert Burns in Copenhagen, Denmark, contributed to this report.
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