WWII veteran, father found stuffed in suitcase gets military burial

WWII Veteran Honored After Found in Suitcase

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- "We'd go fishing and we caught 20 fish, we'd clean them, keep four. And he'd always insist on taking the rest down to the convent to give the nuns a fish dinner."

This is how Jay Brooks, of Greensboro, wants to remember his father: a kind and compassionate man.  Not the way he was found.

"He was very undignified," Brooks said. "Cramming him into a suitcase."

Investigators said Jay's father, World War II veteran Robert Brooks, died of natural causes in New York in January.  His remains were found stuffed in a suitcase two months later on a farm in Arkansas.  Investigators are still trying to figure out why his body was taken there.  At this point, four people have been arrested in the case.

"I was in denial that it couldn't possibly be him," his son said.

Investigators said that neighbors, claiming to be caretakers, took advantage of him financially after he died. 

"My father was a trusting man," Jay said. "He was brought up in an era where your word was a bond." 

After weeks of despair for Jay finally came some relief. His father received the proper burial he deserved.

Patriot Riders took his body from Arkansas to Fort Jackson National Cemetery in Columbia, S.C. - hundreds of miles to bury and honor the war hero.

Robert Brooks served in the U.S. Air Force as a ball turret gunner on a B17 bomber.

"That was one of the most dangerous jobs," Jay said.

Jay said the outpouring of support after this tragedy restored his faith in humanity and the dignity his father always deserved.

"He'd give you the shirt off his back if you needed it," Jay said. "Even if it was the only one he had."

© 2017 WFMY-TV


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