Remains of WWII vet home in OK after more than 70 years - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Remains of WWII vet home in OK after more than 70 years

The remains of a World War II veteran are home after more than 70 years. (Source: KJRH via CNN) The remains of a World War II veteran are home after more than 70 years. (Source: KJRH via CNN)

TULSA, OK (KJRH/CNN) – He was one of the many unknown soldiers who lost their lives during World War II.

But his identity has been discovered, with the help of DNA analysis.

The family of Gene Sappington, from Dawson, OK, was there when his remains returned to the country he sacrificed his life for.

"Wound up in Belgium at the Battle of the Bulge. At 19, he stepped on a landmine and was considered missing in action because they couldn't go back for him," said Jimmy Harvey, Sappington's great-great-nephew.

Two years later, in 1947, a woodcutter found Sappington's remains. But the soldier couldn't be identified.

His body was buried in an unknown grave, where it remained until 2017.

"They contacted a couple of our cousins through DNA," Harvey said. "It's his niece and nephew, and they sent their DNA in and it matched his."

Sappington's remains where flown into the Tulsa International Airport on Wednesday.

Now, although many of his living relatives have never met him, Sappington's return home gives his family closure.

"His mother prayed for years before she passed away for the Lord to send 'Genie Boy' home. It took a few years, but 72 or 73 years later, he's here," Harvey said.

Sappington will be buried in a cemetery at the feet of his mother on Saturday.

Copyright 2018 KJRH via CNN. All rights reserved.

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