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Remains of WW2 veteran home after more than 70 years

Posted at 5:37 PM, Jun 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-06 20:32:20-04

TULSA -- A World War II veteran’s remains are back home, and a family has closure.

Gene Sappington, from Dawson, OK, enlisted in the military when he was 18 years old. When he was 19, he was sent to Belgium and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He stepped on a landmine and was considered missing in action because his group could not return to get his body.

Two years later in 1947, a woodcutter found his remains in the woods, but the soldier could not be identified. He was buried in an unknown grave, where he has laid until 2017.

Sappington’s great-great-nephew Jimmy Harvey said, “They contacted a couple of our cousins through DNA. It’s his niece and nephew, and they sent their DNA in and it matched his.”

His remains were flown into the Tulsa International Airport on Wednesday. Although many of his living relatives have never met him, Sappington’s return home gives his family closure.

Harvey said, “His mother prayed for years before she passed away for the Lord to send “Genie Boy” home. It took a few years, but 72 or 73 years later, he’s here.”

Sappington will be buried at Memorial Park Cemetery at the foot of his mother’s grave on Saturday.

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