Remains of Lynchburg Soldier Identified 63 Years Later

Patricia Goff & Frances Dresser

Lynchburg, VA - It took 63 years, but now a Lynchburg mother knows what happened to her son who died during the Korean War.

Charles Larry Scott was missing in action in North Korea in 1950. Since then, his family has been trying to track down his remains and get some answers. Just a couple of weeks ago, the army contacted them saying they had found Scott's remains.

"The day I got this phone call I tell you, I almost fell on the floor," said Patricia Goff, the missing soldier's sister.

The discovery was something Goff and her 98-year-old mother Frances Dresser never thought they'd hear.

"And we got that call saying we have identified your brother," Goff said.

Scott, who was 20 at the time, had been in North Korea for about a year when he went missing. The army had told the family he was probably killed during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir, a pivotal battle in the Korean War that claimed the lives of thousands of soldiers. Three years later, Scott was declared deceased.

"We were in limbo all of these years," said Goff.

Seven years ago, the family saw that the army was trying to locate family members of MIA soldiers from the Korean War whose remains were buried in a military cemetery in Hawaii. Goff and Dresser contacted the army and sent DNA samples in hopes of finding a match.

"After two or three years I thought, 'Well, nothing's going to happen,'" Goff said.

But something did happen; The army got a perfect DNA match using a single tooth from the remains.

The mother and sister finally got the answers they'd waited decades for.

"In my lifetime I didn't think it would happen. But the amazing fact is that she's lived this long to see it come to fruition," Goff said looking at the mother.

Now, Dresser can have the closure she worked so hard to get during all those years.

"Don't you feel like God left you on this earth to let you see your son come home? asked Goff.

"I think so. I think I was left to settle this whole thing," responded Dresser.

Scott was awarded with a Purple Heart medal and a good conduct medal among others.

Patricia's birthday is actually coming up soon, and she says she could not have asked for a better gift.

The family will have a full military service for Charles Scott. His remains will be shipped from Hawaii and buried in Lynchburg where he grew up.

The service is scheduled for 2 p.m. on September 5 at the cemetery at Fort Hill Memorial Park in Lynchburg. It's open to the public.