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Widow relives the hours of not knowing

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By The Los Angeles Times
Monday, Aug. 26, 2013, 8:51 p.m.
 

FORT HOOD, Texas — Like many Army wives, when Angela Rivera heard there had been a shooting at this central Texas post four years ago, the first thing she did was call her husband's cellphone.

And like so many others, there was no answer.

On Monday, testifying at the sentencing of the man convicted of murder in the mass shooting, Rivera relived the uncertain hours of Nov. 5, 2009.

Thirteen were killed and more than 30 wounded that afternoon. But no names had been released. Rivera had no way of knowing whether they included her husband, Maj. L. Eduardo Caraveo.

She watched the news at her home in Woodbridge, Va., hoping for clues.

“They just kept repeating the same thing: 13 dead,” Rivera said on Monday as she faced the man responsible.

As Rivera recounted the events that followed, how she slowly watched the life she had built unravel, her brown eyes filled with tears.

U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan stared back, impassive.

The Army psychiatrist, who is defending himself, was convicted on Friday on 13 charges of premeditated murder and 32 charges of attempted premeditated murder and now faces a possible death sentence. The same jury that convicted him is handling his sentencing, a group of 13 officers, all Hasan's rank or higher.

Jurors watched Monday as Rivera described her husband and smiled at times. Caraveo, 52, was a psychologist with a private practice who had worked with inmates at prisons in Arizona, California and Washington, D.C., while serving in the National Guard for a decade.

In November 2009, Caraveo was at Fort Hood preparing for his first deployment with a combat stress unit to Afghanistan. The night before the shooting, his children had gathered for a video chat with him.

That was the last time they talked.

The following afternoon, as news of the shooting spread, Rivera called everyone she could think of near Fort Hood: the Red Cross, local hospitals, Army officials.

She kept checking for a missed call from her husband. They never left messages. If they saw a missed call from the other, they just called back.

At 10:45 p.m., Rivera phoned her sister. “They're going to come and knock on my door and tell me he's dead,” she said, begging her sister to come watch the kids so that she could fly to Fort Hood to find her husband.

Instead, Rivera kept calling, seeking news. An official at Fort Hood told her that they had notified all the families of the dead. She went to sleep, still uneasy.

At 5:25 a.m., the doorbell sounded.

As Rivera approached the door, she could see them through the glass: two Army uniforms.

“All I could say was I knew it. I knew he was dead because he did not call me back, and he always did,” she said.

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