BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) -- After 70 years, a family is finally getting closure.
Private First Class (Pfc.) Bobbie Ray Daniels went missing in action (MIA) during the Korean War, but DNA is connecting him to one Bedford County family.
Pfc. Daniels went Missing in Action during the Korean War in 1950.
The Army veteran was 17 years old.
In 1953, after the conflict ended, Daniels was declared dead.
His remains were not found until now. “Our only purpose is to bring closure to those families and bring those service members home,” explained Army Sgt. First Class Sean Everette, works with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.
Sept. 21, Daniels remains were identified. “You kind of don’t think it’s going to happen and then it happens,” said Sonny Daniels, Pfc. Daniels' nephew. “I think it’s pretty admirable, we’re now getting closure.”
Now 70 years later, Daniels, who serves as a Sergeant at the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office, will learn more about the uncle he never had the chance to meet.
Pfc. Daniels went missing near Waegwan, Republic of Korea (R.o.K).
In the years following the war, the U.S. worked to recover thousands of unidentifiable remains.
Daniels was eventually buried as “unknown” at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii.
In 2017, after extensive research, the military’s Accounting Agency exhumed Daniels, taking his remains to a lab. “Once we send them to the lab, we have a group of scientists, forensic anthropologists and the like, who will thoroughly examine all the remains,” explained Everette.
It’s a process that can take months, even years. “It can take decades, actually,” added Everette.
But ultimately bringing closure to families, Everette said, is worth the process.
For Pfc. Daniels, his name is memorialized inside the county’s courthouse.
The man who died serving his country is no longer missing. And his nephew, who has also found a place in public service, finds closure with his family. “Your last name carries on through life and I think it’s a great representation of the pride that our family does have,” said Daniels.
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