WWII soldier

Logan resident Helen Lower Simmons displays a photo of her brother, Sgt. Max Wendell Lower, a World War II casualty whose remains were identified after more than six decades.

LOGAN (AP) — The remains of a solider reported missing in action during World War II will soon be returned to his family in Utah, thanks to DNA technology.

Helen Lower Simmons of Logan expects to receive the remains of her older brother this week, The Deseret News reported.

Sgt. Max Wendell Lower was 23 when he was killed during an attack by U.S. Army Air Force bombers on oil refineries in Romania in August 1943, Simmons said.

DNA testing identified Lower’s remains last month and he is scheduled to be buried with full military honors and a military aircraft flyover on Saturday, Nov. 23 at 1 p.m. at the Lewiston City Cemetery.

For years, Simmons and her family wondered what happened to her brother.

“There wasn’t a day that his name wasn’t coming up,” Simmons, now 90, recalled. “We were always looking for little clues.”

After the raid, residents buried his body and others. The U.S. military later moved the bodies to Belgium where they remained in storage until 2017, when a genealogist began searching for the families of the soldiers.

Simmons and her younger brother submitted DNA samples and last month the testing provided a positive match.

“There’s just a hole when somebody is missing like that,” said Stephen Simmons, Lower’s nephew. “For everybody, even those who didn’t know him, I think it brings a lot of peace.”

The remains of U.S. Marine Robert James Hatch also will be returned to Utah for a planned burial in Bountiful. Hatch died in the Battle of Tarawa in the Pacific Theater.

“I always felt a little uncomfortable with him being there, because being buried here in Bountiful he’d be here with his family, in the shadow of the mountains, if you will,” said his nephew, Tom Hatch.

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