Baton Rouge soldier, killed in Korean War, identified 70 years later
BATON ROUGE - Federal investigators have successfully located and identified the remains of a of U.S. soldier from Baton Rouge who was last seen held prisoner in the Korean War.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, an arm of the U.S. Department of Defense, announced Tuesday that the remains of Cpl. Lawrence L. Brown were sent back to Louisiana.
Brown was 21 years old when he was captured near Kujang, North Korea in 1950. Based on testimony from returning prisoners, the agency determined he died sometime around March 31, 1951.
In 1954, North Korea returned remains from Pyoktong—also known as Prisoner of War Camp 5—including a set of remains that could not be identified at the time. Those remains were buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.
Those remains were disinterred in 2019 and sent to a DPAA lab in Hawaii as part of a program aiming to identify unknown individuals lost to war. The facility was able to use "dental, anthropological, and chest radiograph analysis," as well as mitochondrial DNA and circumstantial evidence to confirm Brown's identity.
Brown's name is currently recorded on the Courts of the Missing monument at the memorial cemetery in Honolulu, and a rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he is now accounted for.
It was a surprise for his cousin Donnie Williams, but it was also bittersweet.
"No one in his family actually knew him as he has been gone so long except my older brothers and sisters and they only had exposure to him a few times. That's the sad part about it your, whole life is gone and you have no immediate family to mourn you," Williams said.
Williams said he never knew him. But has heard a few stories from those who did.
"He was a bad rascal, he was a mischievous fella lets put it that way all good natured, and he was mature beyond his age," Brown said.
And now says his lost cousin can now rest in peace.
"It's like, you see a light on, and that light is on and it's getting dimmer and dimmer and dimmer but now that we found Lawrence and we have his body now that light can finally go out in peace," Williams said.
Brown will be buried in Prairieville next to his parents in July.