Daniel Pearl, the U.S. reporter who was abducted in Pakistan last month by a previously unknown group of militants, is dead.
"We now believe, based on reports from the U.S. State Department and police officials of the Pakistani province of Sind, that Danny Pearl was killed by his captors," Peter R. Kann, publisher of The Wall Street Journal, and Paul E. Steiger, managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, said in a statement.
"We are heartbroken at his death," they said.
Sources told ABCNEWS a videotape purporting to show the body of Pearl, The Wall Street Journal's South Asia bureau chief, was in the possession of FBI agents in Karachi, Pakistan.
Authorities in surrounding Sind province said they obtained the tape today, but it is not clear when the tape was made. The tape was initially in the possession of two men, who initially approached a Pakistani journalist.
The two men were put under surveillance, and an FBI agent posed as a journalist to get ahold of the tape and the men, sources said.
A senior law enforcement official told ABCNEWS that the videotape clearly showed a face that looks like Pearl. When the video begins, sources said, he is alive. He is killed on the tape.
Pearl's body has not yet been recovered. The United States does not have an extradition treaty with Pakistan, but sources in the State Department told ABCNEWS they were outraged by Pearl's death, and that they would work with the Pakistani government to bring those responsible to justice.
In a statement issued this afternoon, Pearl's family said they were "shocked and saddened" by his death.
"Up until a few hours ago we were confident that Danny would return safely, for we believed no human being would be capable of harming such a gentle soul," they said.
President Bush, on a state visit to Beijing, and Attorney General John Ashcroft also expressed sorrow over Pearl's death.
"Laura and I and the American people are deeply saddened to learn about the loss of Daniel Pearl's life. We are really sad for his wife and his parents and his friends and colleagues who have been clinging to hope for weeks that he would be found alive," Bush said. "… Those who would threaten Americans, those who would engage in criminal, barbaric acts need to know that these crimes only hurt their cause and only deepen the resolve of the United States of America to rid the world of these agents of terror."
Pearl's pregnant wife, Mariane, who has remained in Pakistan throughout his abduction, was told of her husband's death early this morning.
A Casualty in the Search for Truth
Pearl, 38, was abducted on Jan. 23 en route to a meeting in Karachi with Islamic extremists.
He was working on a story on Richard Reid, a Briton who was arrested on a Paris-to-Miami flight in December after he allegedly tried to ignite explosives hidden in his sneakers.
It is believed Pearl was seeking an interview with Mubarak Ali Shah Gilani, the leader of the radical Islamic group Jamaat al-Fuqra, with whom Reid may have been connected.
Four days later, a previously unknown group calling itself the National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty sent an e-mail to Pakistani and international media showing Pearl in captivity. One of the photos showed Pearl with a gun pointed to his head.
In its e-mail, the group demanded that the United States repatriate Pakistanis captured in Afghanistan who are being held at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.