The remains of a soldier who was captured by enemy forces during the Korean War are returning to Missouri, 58 years after he was reported missing.
The remains of Pfc. David Woodruff have been identified and will be returned for burial with full military honors, the Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced Thursday.
Woodruff, of Poplar Bluff, joined the Army six months before he was taken prisoner in 1951 at age 20. Officials said he died in or near a North Korean prison camp.
Two years after his capture, the Department of Defense told his family that Woodruff was declared dead.
Authorities believe his remains were among those in 208 boxes that North Korea turned over to U.S. officials in the early 1990s. Another box turned over at that time contained his military identification tag.
Officials used circumstantial evidence, DNA testing and dental records to determine the remains belonged to Woodruff, said Larry Greer, a spokesman for the POW/Missing Personnel Office.
"What they were able to do was match teeth recovered which matched with a great deal of consistency his existing dental records," Greer said.
Woodruff's brother, 72-year-old Peter Woodruff, said the news was welcomed by relatives, including five siblings who are still alive.
"It's great," said Peter Woodruff, who was 15 when his brother went missing. "We're very happy they finally located the remains and put some closure on this situation that's been in existence almost 60 years."
A funeral was planned Wednesday at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis.
Greer said 8,100 service members from the Korean War remain missing.
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