Idaho sisters search for M.I.A. uncle

Posted at 4:15 PM, Sep 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-21 18:15:43-04

Corporal Raymond Yafrate was killed in the Korean War when his ammunition truck was blown up by enemy fire. His family was informed of his death in 1951, but 67 years later, the family has no remains of Ray. Now through D-N-A samples, they're hoping and praying they can finally have closure.

Ray and his sister Arlene were the youngest of nine children, and they both had a bit of mischief in them. Arlene's daughter's smile when they think about the two. "They were tight, very tight, they were troublemakers, they were, yeah."

Susan Filkens and Lori Gibson are on a mission. To find the remains of their Uncle Ray, so their mom, Arlene can finally have closure.

Lori explains, "It was hard on the family because they were a tight family, and it just sent them all sideways." Susan says it took two years for the Army to even say Ray was missing in action. "Everybody was hoping Uncle Raymond was alive, everybody was, we don't even know where he is, but we know there's a chance."

But through the advances in D-N-A, there is that chance. Today Ray is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii. Just last month, the military pulled a casket containing the remains of several soldiers. Lori knows what she and the rest of the family are up against.

"From the time they pull the casket out of the ground in Hawaii it goes to the lab on the property, then they have two years to identify every bone and then they have to put it back in the ground," she said.

If a D-N-A match can be found, the two sisters know what it would mean for their 88-year old mother.

"It would mean, it would mean so much because Raymond was gone, missing. It actually imploded the whole family. It would mean closure," said Lori.

The family has started a Go Fund Me campaign in order to raise funds for their mom Arlene to travel to South Korea in order for her to see where her brother died. The trip is currently planned for April of next year.