WHITTIER (CBSLA.com) — A US soldier who was captured during the Korean War has finally come home for his eternal rest.
CBS2's Cristy Fajardo said a graveside ceremony for Army Corporal Robert Witt in Whittier unearthed tears buried for 65 years.
"He's home. That's all I wanted," said Laverne Minnick, "For him to be home."
Minnick, now 82, has been wondering what became of her brother's remains since 1950.
Not long after the start of the Korean War. the then 20-year-old Witt -- from Bellflower -- was captured by the Chinese.
The family would later learn from released POWs that Witt died of malnutrition while being held in a prison camp.
His remains were tossed in a mass grave.
But his family always remembered.
"My mother worked for the Gold Star Mothers," Minnick recalls, "she marched in parades and carried the American flag until she couldn't walk anymore."
It would take decades, diplomatic negotiations and, finally, DNA testing to bring Witt's remains home.
Only Minnick was at the airport to greet his coffin. Her siblings, father and mother didn't live to see this day
Her mom lived a long life -- waiting.
"She lived until she was 92 --waiting," Minnick said.
She has learned her mischievous and fun-loving brother had a girlfriend overseas. And she was also moved by all the veterans who came to honor him.
But the greatest comfort, she says, is seeing him interred with their mother and father.
Witt's parents never gave up hope he would return.
"This is so special to me," Minnick said, "Now he will be with his parents for eternity."
Army officials estimate Witt died on January 31, 1951.
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