POW remains returned to family decades after Korean War

It's been about six decades since the Korean War ended, but it wasn't until this week when a Wichita family found closure. Their relative died as a prisoner of war in North Korea. The family now has very detailed records of his life and death.

“We never, in the last 30-40 years, we never mentioned Frank,” said Learvis Templeton.  

So when the remains of Frank, or Henry Johnson as the army knew him, were found, it was shocking to an old neighborhood friend.

“We were kids.  He was a POW, he was dead, gone,” said Templeton.

Johnson's family had wondered about him from time to time.

“He had wrote us and told us to sit on his fare, but he never came home,” said niece Erma Garrett.

“Most of the guys who had left with him were coming back home.  In fact he was the only one from that community that was even wounded,” said Templeton.

So when a new “Korean War Project” promised to help find soldiers missing in action, Erma and Earline volunteered a sample of their DNA.

“It was amazing all the information we found out about,” said Johnson’s great niece Earline Zeigler.

The Department of Defense sent them a complete set of records of Earline's long lost great uncle.     

“Where it all started, when he joined the service, when he was deployed, and when he became prisoner of war,” said Zeigler.

Documents show he became a POW in November of 1950 and died in April of 1951 of malnourishment. Along with records, the promise of his remains so family could hold a proper burial.

“Even though I hadn't thought about Frank in many years, it was a relief to know they had located him and was bringing his remains back,” said Templeton.

It's been about six decades since the Korean war ended, but it wasn't until this week when a Wichita family found closure.