Category Archives: Missing Persons

DNA testing crucial to identifying remains in unmarked graves in Sugar Land

The questions now are: Will these prisoners ever be identified, and are these century-old remains linked to the present day? Experts say the answer may lie in specialized DNA testing.

How the US military will identify remains from North Korea

HONOLULU — U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is flying to Hawaii on Wednesday to receive 55 boxes of bones recently handed over by North Korea. The remains are believed to belong to servicemen from the U.S. and other United Nations member countries who fought alongside the U.S. during the Korean War.
Here’s a look at what will happen next:

North Korea Provided Just 1 Dog Tag With 55 Sets Of War Remains

WASHINGTON (AP) — When North Korea handed over 55 boxes of bones that it said are remains of American war dead, it provided a single military dog tag but no other information that could help U.S. forensics experts determine their individual identities, a U.S. defense official said Tuesday.
The official, who discussed previously undisclosed aspects of the remains issue on condition of anonymity, said it probably will take months if not years to fully determine individual identities from the remains, which have not yet been confirmed by U.S. specialists to be those of American servicemen.

VFW urges families of MIA servicemembers to provide DNA samples

WASHINGTON (KCTV) -The national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is asking the families of those who went missing during the Korean and Cold Wars to submit DNA in the hopes of identifying the remains North Korea turned over to the U.S. recently.

DNA to X-ray: Military has variety of tools to ID returned remains

NEW YORK — The U.S. military remains released by North Korea on Friday will be sent to a military lab in Hawaii, where they’ll enter a system that routinely identifies service members from decades-old conflicts.
Identifications depend on combining multiple lines of evidence, and they can take time: Even after decades, some cases remain unresolved.

Thousands of women seek their roots decades after being sold in boy-preferring rural China

An increasing number of these girls, mostly adopted in the late 1970s and early 1980s, are starting to explore their identity now. In a recent “family-seeking” activity held in Gutian county, Fujian Province early in July, many women gathered and registered their information and left blood samples for DNA tracking.

U.S. May Soon Resume Search for Korean War Dead in North Korea

North Korea may allow the United States to resume a search for thousands of American war dead from the 1950-53 Korean War, but it will be months before excavations can begin and years until bone fragments are identified, a senior US official said.

How one man’s obsession led to the discovery of a lost WWII pilot

In late June 1994, a helicopter banked over the Charley River in Alaska’s eastern Yukon wilderness. Below, on a hillside of granite and greenstone, was the wreckage of a B-24D bomber that went down Dec. 21, 1943 during a flight to test the plane’s systems in extreme cold.
Doug Beckstead, a National Park Service historian, pressed his face against the glass for his first view of the “Iceberg Inez,” one of the many hulks of lost aircraft across Alaska.
This one came with a remarkable backstory. The lone survivor — co-pilot 1st Lt. Leon Crane, a city kid from Philadelphia — made his way out of the frozen Yukon wilds after an 81-day ordeal.

BYU family history students helping the Army identify remains of missing soldiers with DNA testing

One mother continued setting a place at the dinner table every night for her son — just in case.
Not every family of the 82,000 American soldiers who have gone missing in wars since World War II will get answers, but a group at Brigham Young University is hoping to help some of them learn what happened to their loved ones.

68 years after the Korean War, hundreds of US families are still searching for closure

The Korean War broke out 68 years ago this month, when North Korean tanks and troops crossed the 38th parallel on June 25, 1950, as part of an “all out offensive” against South Korea.
The remains of thousands of US soldiers are still in North Korea, despite decades of effort by families and the US military to repatriate them.

Korean War GI from Gary, who had been missing since 1950, to be buried on Saturday

The remains of U.S. Army Pfc. David Baker, who had been missing in action since November 1950, will finally be buried Saturday at Evergreen Memorial Park in Hobart.
Mitochondrial DNA analysis, which matched him with his family, was used, as well as anthropological analysis and circumstantial evidence, the Defense Department said.

For relatives of Guatemala volcano victims, an agonizing wait

ESCUINTLA, Guatemala: At an improvised morgue in the Guatemalan town of Escuintla, dozens of people stand around in an anguished daze, clutching photos of their loved ones, hoping to recover their bodies for burial.

Skeletons From WWII Mass Grave In Italy Identified Through Forensic DNA Testing

On March 24, 1944, Nazi soldiers slaughtered 335 Italian political prisoners and civilians in Rome, tossing them into a mass grave known as the Fosse Ardeatine. Months after the retaliatory massacre, 323 of the bodies were identified by a forensic medical team. The remaining dozen skeletons were disinterred more than 65 years later for forensic DNA testing in an attempt to identify the unknown people in this WWII mass grave.

Research suggests skeletal remains can help fill in blanks in stories of failed border crossers

CLEMSON — Research from forensic anthropologists suggests that the structure of the human skull can help identify a person who has died attempting to cross into the United States from Mexico. After examining what little is often left of these individuals, researchers say medical examiners can use a skull’s symmetry to define the person’s likely origin and increase the odds that they will be identified.

How DNA and a lot of hope is helping Defense Department find New York war heroes

In 2016, the remains of 18-year-old Hornell native Cpl. William H. Smith were laid to rest in Elmira’s Forest Lawn Cemetery, 66 years after he’d first been reported missing in action in 1950 while stationed near the Chinese border in Korea.
Smith is one of 28 previously missing service members of the Korean War from New York state who have been recovered, identified and returned for burial in the past 18 years, according to Defense Department records.
These homecomings, and those of the missing in other conflicts, were the result of a centralized effort by the Defense Department, intensified in recent years by the formation of a single agency — the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency — to coordinate the effort to recover missing personnel from past wars and conflicts and from countries around the world.