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Reporters touched by the Cote story

   It's a rare sight to see a room full of news reporters with tears in their eyes.

   But that was pretty much the scene at the Ramada Hotel & Conference Center on Thursday, as members of the Cote family spoke of the 17-month ordeal that ended in the recent death of Jonathon M. Cote, a hostage taken in Iraq.

   Most of the reporters in the room could be seen dabbing tears away as Francis L. Cote spoke of the death of his son, and Christopher Cote lamented the loss of his brother.

   Buffalo journalists have been amazed by the strength shown by the family since Jonathon … working as a private security contractor … was abducted in November 2006. They have handled an impossibly difficult situation with
dignity and class.

   Cote's stepmother, Nancy Cote … resident agent in charge of the Buffalo office of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration … and other family members also attended the press conference.

   She thanked the Buffalo and national media for not revealing her identity over the past 17 months.

   "We were worried that Jon would have been subjected to even worse punishment if [the abductors] knew Nancy worked for the government," Francis Cote said.

   One of the most emotional moments of the press conference came when Christopher Cote was asked what he would ask his brother if he ever had the chance to talk with him.

   "I would ask, "Do you forgive those who did this to you?'‚ Cote said. "If he can, I can."

   -- Dan Herbeck and Lou Michel

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