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Sent on Mormon-News: 19Apr01

By Kent Larsen

LDS Bombing Victim's Family Remembers, Awaits Execution

OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA -- Six years after a truck bomb destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, taking with it the lives of 168 people, the family of LDS Church member Paul Broxterman remembers their son, brother, husband and father and waits for the expected execution of terrorist Timothy McVeigh. Broxterman has been one of the most visible victims, thanks to his murder's inclusion as one of the counts in the case against McVeigh and his mother's widely-publicized comments on and during the trial. While the execution won't alleviate the family's loss, it will give them closure and a sense of justice.

Broxterman was a Kansas native, born in a non-Mormon Air Force family in Topeka. The family moved to several other states before settling in Las Vegas, where Paul attended his last two years of high school. He excelled at soccer, graduated in 1971 and soon headed for Vietnam, where he served in the US Navy as a radioman on the USS Enterprise.

Discharged after the war, Broxterman got degrees in criminal justice and law enforcement, the latter from Weber State University in Ogden. His mother, Peggy Broxterman (who is apparently not Mormon), says he was mischievous and unsettled -- until he joined the LDS Church and married his wife, Cammie. Then he blossomed, "Paul loved his family, his country and God," said his mother, Peggy.

He went to work as an investigator for the Internal Revenue Service, then the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Department of Agriculture, which he left early in 1995 to accept a job as an investigator with the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He started work in the Murrah Building just three weeks before the bombing, getting an office at the front of the building because his boss offered him an office with a window.

What happened that morning before the blast isn't clear. Broxterman's office was on the fourth floor, separate from the rest of the HUD offices on the building, located on the 7th and 8th floors. HUD office manager Susan Hunt testified in McVeigh's trial that Broxterman had gone up to the man HUD offices to get supplies he needed for a trial at which he was to testify.

Back in his office, Broxterman might have been able, if he were looking, to see the rental truck back up to the building, McVeigh flee and, the truck explode at him. The 9:02 am explosion destroyed the front of the building, killing 168 people including Broxterman.

It was 13 days before his body was found. His parents and some siblings came to Oklahoma City and waited at the crisis center, hoping beyond hope that he was alive. His mother insisted he was, thinking he had just gone out for a soda. The family called Paul's beeper regularly, hoping that the unit's buzz would help searchers find him. Eventually, on his birthday, they made him a cake, sprinkling nuts on the top because they knew he hated nuts and hoped that would bring him out of the rubble. It worked, his body was discovered that day.

The body was shipped to Topeka, Kansas, where Paul was buried along side his grandmother. Peggy Broxterman found that talking to the media about the bombing gave her some solace, because she took on the mission to remind the world of the magnitude of the tragedy, "You have to have lost a child to understand," she says. She also testified in McVeigh's trial, causing an uproar when she praised the judge for his compassion, a move that the defense attorneys called prejudicial.

But Broxterman's wife and children have been much less visible in the media. His daughter, Sarah, now 21, did come to the bombing site last year when the memorial to the bombing was dedicated. She said that the moment was very personal, "To me, it's like my funeral for him, my time to say goodbye." After lingering over her father's chair, one of the 168 inscribed chairs in the memorial, she placed flowers on the fence that long served as an impromptu memorial at the site, and said she felt settled, "Hopefully I can put this behind and find peace."


Long Journey for Justice
Las Vegas Review-Journal 14Apr01 P2
By Glenn Puit: Review-Journal

Oklahoma City memorial stands as silent tribute
Detroit MI News (AP) 20Apr00 P2
By Tim Talley


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