New York Daily News

August 4, 2005

Just got engaged to fellow officer

James McNaughton came back to New York one final time last month, a man with a mission.

He headed to a family friend's jewelry store to pick out a beautiful engagement ring for his sweetheart, Liliana Paredes, 24, a fellow cop.

Then the 27-year-old Army reservist, who had been in Iraq for the last seven months, popped the question.

"He just got engaged," his father, William McNaughton, recalled yesterday as news broke that the young cop had been killed in Iraq.

McNaughton and Paredes' love story began at the Police Academy in July 2001. As cadets, they were mobilized after 9/11 to help direct traffic and control crowds.

The couple moved in together about a year ago into a house in Middle Village, Queens, owned by a cop who works with Paredes at Manhattan's 9th Precinct.

Neighbor Yvette Carcana recalled how happy Paredes had seemed in the days before McNaughton came home in July for his 15-day leave.

"She couldn't wait," Carcana said. "She was so excited."

But yesterday, after learning her intended was gone, a devastated Paredes mourned, surrounded by cop friends.

"His fiancée is beyond words," William McNaughton said.

One woman who knows all too well Paredes' pain is Sharon Engeldrum, whose firefighter husband, Christian, was killed last year in Iraq.

"God give them peace in their heart," she said yesterday.

"It hurts every time I hear something like this," she said, as her newborn baby daughter, Kristian, named for her slain dad, cried in the background. "It just brings me back."

McNaughton was a member of the Army Reserve's 306th Military Police Battalion, based in Uniondale, L.I.

"A lot of them are EMS or they're cops," said Cathy Rosenberg, 30, whose husband is also an NYPD cop and a member of the 306th. "They're service-oriented people."

She was stunned to hear that one of their own had been killed. "I'm in shock," she said. "You think about all of them and you expect all of of them to come home."

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