An American prisoner of war whose remains have been missing since the 50s has finally returned home.
Sergeant Stafford Morris was captured during the Korean War and died in 1951. Ever since then, his family has wondered if he would ever come back.
Now his only surviving sibling is telling 11Alive what it’s like to finally have answers.
The march to the car was no more than a few yards – but the journey to get there took decades. It’s a homecoming this family’s been waiting on for 66 years.
“My mom has always been wondering and yesterday, when his remains came home, she didn’t realize how emotional and even myself and my daughter became emotional,” Dr. Lynn Jones said.
Sgt. Morris was only 24-years-old when he became a prisoner of war in the Korean War. In 1954, the Army sent the letter letting family know he had died.
But before he was a soldier, Morris was just an older brother.
“We were just like two peas in a pod,” his sister Virginia Morris Phillips said. “If you see him you would see ‘baby sister’ – baby sister and he was little Bubba.”
So the pain of unanswered questions wore at her heart – leaving a space for him – until it could be filled.
“I looked back at him and I talk with him and it looks like I could just say ‘Bubba where are you? What Happened to you?’,” Phillips said.
Now all those answers are kept in a book from the Army. They only knew where to look because of a brave doctor who secretly kept names of the POWs he treated.
“You see where this yellow highlighter, that’s my uncle’s name,” Jones said.
They used DNA to match his remains to their family. Yesterday they flew him home and his family met him at the airport.
“And I stood there and I patted him and I hugged him and I kissed him and I told him I said this is it,” Phillips said. “I said you’re much closer now to me.”
Even though she was 21 when he left, at 88 years old, she’s happy to be a baby sister once again.
“Just like I told him yesterday,” she said.
“He’s home now. He can rest.”