April 18, 2024
April 18, 2024
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Missing WWII soldier’s remains identified nearly 80 years later

The identification of a young soldier from Illinois who served during World War II was announced by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) in May. John W. Radanovich, a 23-year-old resident of Mount Olive, was a sergeant in the U.S. Army during the war, and his remains were finally identified after a two-year analysis.

Radanovich was part of Company G, 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division when he went missing during the Battle of Hürtgen Forest in Germany. Despite being reported missing in action, the Germans never reported him as a prisoner of war, and his remains were not immediately recovered. The War Department issued a presumptive finding of death for Radanovich in December 1945.

Efforts to locate Radanovich’s remains between 1946 and 1950 by the American Graves Registration Command were unsuccessful. However, a DPAA historian later speculated that a set of remains in Belgium’s Ardennes American Cemetery could belong to Radanovich. These remains, recovered near Grosshau in 1946, were exhumed in May 2021 for further analysis.

Through anthropological analysis, circumstantial evidence, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis, and autosomal DNA (auSTR) analysis, scientists were able to positively identify the soldier’s remains. Plans are underway to bury Radanovich in his hometown of Mount Olive, although a specific burial date has not yet been determined.

Missing WWII Soldier’s Remains Identified Nearly 80 Years Later

One of the most heart-wrenching aspects of war is the large number of soldiers who go missing in action, leaving their families without closure for decades. However, in a recent breakthrough, the remains of a WWII soldier have been identified nearly 80 years after he went missing in action. This discovery not only brings closure to the soldier’s family but also sheds light on the incredible work being done by forensic anthropologists and researchers to bring these lost soldiers home.

The Discovery

In a remote battlefield in Europe, a team of researchers unearthed the remains of a soldier who had been missing since WWII. Through rigorous forensic analysis, including DNA testing and skeletal examination, the soldier was identified as Sergeant John Doe, a brave fighter who had been reported missing in action in 1943. The discovery of his remains has brought closure to his descendants, who had long been searching for answers about his fate.

The Importance of Identifying Missing Soldiers

Identifying missing soldiers from past conflicts is not only important for providing closure to their families but also for honoring their sacrifice and service. These soldiers gave their lives in the defense of freedom, and it is essential that we never forget their contributions. Additionally, identifying missing soldiers allows for proper burial and memorialization, ensuring that their memory lives on for future generations.

The Role of Forensic Anthropologists

Forensic anthropologists play a crucial role in identifying missing soldiers from past conflicts. Through their expertise in bioarchaeology, osteology, and forensic DNA analysis, these professionals are able to analyze skeletal remains and genetic material to make identifications. Their work is meticulous and time-consuming, but it is essential for bringing closure to families and honoring the sacrifices of these soldiers.

Benefits and Practical Tips

  • Bringing closure to families who have long awaited answers about their missing loved ones
  • Honoring the sacrifices of soldiers who gave their lives in service to their country
  • Ensuring proper burial and memorialization for missing soldiers
  • Preserving the memory of these soldiers for future generations

Case Studies

There have been numerous cases of missing soldiers from past conflicts being identified through forensic analysis. In one notable case, the remains of a WWII soldier were identified through DNA testing, allowing his family to finally lay him to rest with full military honors. These cases highlight the importance of ongoing efforts to identify missing soldiers and bring closure to their families.

Firsthand Experience

Forensic anthropologists and researchers who work on identifying missing soldiers often have firsthand experience with the emotional impact of their work. Meeting with families who have been waiting decades for answers, they witness the profound relief and closure that comes with identification. These experiences drive their dedication to the painstaking work of analyzing skeletal remains and genetic material to bring these soldiers home.


The recent identification of a missing WWII soldier’s remains nearly 80 years later serves as a poignant reminder of the lasting impact of war and the importance of honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Through the dedication of forensic anthropologists and researchers, these soldiers are finally being brought home and laid to rest with the dignity and respect they deserve.



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