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UW helping in search for missing soldier's remains

By: Rachelle Baillon Email
By: Rachelle Baillon Email

Tuesday, September 10, 2013--6:40p.m.
MADISON--Meet Josh Hyman and Charles Konsitzke; they're part of the investigative team searching for PFC Lawrence Gordon. "The only thing that returned of PFC Gordon was his billfold," said Konsitzke. "It was burnt, it was bloodied."

These are the known facts: Gordon was a Canadian who joined the U.S. Military, serving in World War II.

"PFC Gordon was with a team of four," said Konsitzke. That's when their vehicle was hit by a tank. PFC Gordon and another died instantly, a third died soon thereafter.

This is where our mystery truly begins: "Of this unit that PFC Gordon was with 44 were killed in action, 43 were found," said Konsitzke. "PFC Gordon was the only soldier that was not returned or accounted for."

So what happened to the remains of PFC Gordon? The search has become an international effort: A local researcher has traced remains to a German cemetery--in France--that he thinks are likely Gordon's. And that's where Hyman and Konsitzke come in. "When we get to this German cemetery in France, the French are going to exhume the body and because it's on their soil, they're the ones that are going to do the testing," said Hyman.

Hyman leaves for Europe tomorrow. He'll be observing the French lab workers and hopes the UW will get a sample to test for DNA as well. Gordon's nephews have already agreed to provide samples of their DNA for comparison.

They're hoping the samples provide the clues for them to close this case. "It's one of those things that just fell into our laps," said Hyman. "And it's one of those things that you just want to participate in. I mean it's a great story to see this family, anxious to know if this is truly their uncle."


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