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Unidentified Remains

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  • Unidentified Remains

    One of the top US forensic anthropologists of the 20 Century once wrote that few rest in peace for eternity, our remains frequently resurface, often in less than a century or two. When they do they usually have a story to tell for those who can read it.

    I'd posted a bit over a year ago about John Eakins one man battle to persuade the US military to take action on identification of specific unidentified remains of US military personnel. It started with his effort to locate & identify remains of a family member who had died while prisoner of the Japanese on Luzon island circa 1943.

    Johnny is a tough fighter, & tho well past age sixty is not someone I'd care to tangle with in a bar, dark alley or anywhere else. So, when he found what he thought was a fairly straightforward case of excavating a dozen graves in the US military cemetary on Luzon for DNA checks was considered 'to hard' by the US Army he went at it. In the course of having the family members remains properly identified he also located interested relatives of the other eleven graves holding unidentified remains. Beyond that he has discovered many other families also trying to have remains identified, sites investigated, & proper internment made.

    Here is a copy of the latest message from Johnny on the subject. If there is anyone interested in contacting him for further information let me know & I'll provide the address.

    Dear Friends and Family,

    I think everyone on this email list has a family member still missing
    from WWII so I want to let you know what Iíve done seeking their
    return and also to ask for your help.
    The good folks at DPMO/JPAC have made it abundantly clear that they
    don't intend to return the remains of any unknowns - talk has gotten
    us no where with them. So this past week (finally) I filed suit in
    Federal District Court here in San Antonio.

    Lawsuits are always a crapshoot, and me not being a lawyer doesn't
    help, but I think we've made a good case on several issues - and we
    only need to prevail on one of them to break this logjam. I only have
    standing to sue on behalf of my family member, but I tried to
    structure the complaint so the Court can address all Bataan MIA's if
    it wishes. If we can get them identified then it will be up to each
    primary next of kin to decide where and how they should be buried.

    What would be helpful at this point is media attention. The feds hate
    that and a little publicity may convince them to do the right thing
    rather than drag this out for years. If you have any media contacts,
    I'd appreciate you running this story past them. Veterans Day is
    coming up soon and every newspaper and TV station is looking for a
    story like this. All it takes is a brief email to the editor so they
    know there is some local connection to the story.

    The complaint and (800 pages of) exhibits are posted at:
    http://bataanmissing.com/EakinVABMC/files.htm . You might notice that
    exhibit one is a report from a nationally known expert in the field of
    skeletal identifications.

    Best,

    John

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