BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A Baton Rouge man and his family will travel to Greenville, Mississippi next Saturday to bury his brother who died 65 years ago. A long time coming does not even begin to sum up or describe the wait.
At the age of 24, Army Cpl. Dudley Evans was captured while fighting in Korea in 1951. His war buddy later told his family that he saw a Chinese guard kill Cpl. Evans after he collapsed while marching to a POW camp. Cpl. Evans' body has been buried in North Korea ever since.
Cliff Evans, the missing soldier's 80-year-old younger brother, was a teenager when he found out his brother had been killed.
"You hate to know that part of your family is missing. And I had given up, I had figured that I would be dead and gone even if they did find him," Evans said. "I just said you know he'll never be found. He was in a strange place and no one was ever really sure where he got killed and so I said they'll never find him and I had pretty well come to grips with that."
A joint team of U.S. military and North Korean officers found several sets of remains believed to belong to American soldiers buried in mass graves. Army scientists used DNA from living relatives and were able to match and identify the remains.
Cpl. Evans' body was among those identified and now, decades later, will be flown to his hometown in Mississippi for a full military funeral.
"You know this family has just been great the whole time. I've been with them and I'm glad that he is still alive and kicking to be able to see his brother brought home," said Sgt. Darryl Harley with the U.S. Army.
"I'm 80, and I'm not really ready to go but I'm going to go with a lot more of a feeling then I would if we hadn't found him," Cliff Evans said.
Cliff Evans said this is the moment he has been waiting for all of his life. He said at one point he joined the army in hopes of being sent to fight in Korea and find his older brother's body.
"This was a total shock, which we are thankful for," Cliff Evans said. "This is pretty emotional but I said, I want to go to Korea. And of course I wanted to go over there and look for him, but they wouldn't let me go. So, I didn't get to go to Korea. Even though I d ropped out of school and signed that voluntary draft card, but they wouldn't let me go."
Visitation for Cpl. Dudley Evans will be Friday, April 22 followed by a funeral service the next day in Greenville.