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Many offer to help man get e-mail of slain son

WIXOM, Mich. -- Offers of help have been pouring in for a Michigan man who is trying to persuade online giant Yahoo! to allow him access to the e-mail account of his son, a Marine killed in Iraq.

From lawyers to computer-code crackers, people across the nation have come forward wanting to help the family of 20-year-old Justin M. Ellsworth, who was killed last month.

"It's an overwhelming response," said John Ellsworth, Justin's father. "Things are really moving. I'm very encouraged by it all, but I still have my reservations."

Yahoo! is standing by its policy of protecting the privacy of its e-mail subscribers, spokeswoman Karen Mahon said.

One man started an online petition Tuesday to pressure Yahoo! to allow access to the account. Lawyers have offered free legal services, and two computer forensic examiners have offered to crack the mystery of the e-mail password for free.

The policy of Yahoo! is to erase the account after it has been idle for 90 days. It's not known when Ellsworth last used the account. He died Nov. 3, meaning the account would be erased by Feb. 1.

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