Families of missing service members seek answers

Posted at 6:33 PM, Apr 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-24 11:42:28-04

Between Kansas and Missouri, nearly 3,500 military members are still missing or unaccounted for.

Hoping for answers, 250 people packed the conference room at the Marriot in Overland Park Saturday afternoon willing to do whatever it takes to bring their loved ones home.

"He was stationed in Japan when the Korean war broke out," said Florentino Lopez, who is searching for his missing brother.

Corporal Richard Estrada Lopez was killed in South Korea on April 16, 1951. But more than 60 years later and his remains are still missing.

Three weeks ago Florentino Lopez, who himself is also a Korean War veteran, received some promising news via a letter.

He brought that letter to Saturday's meeting hosted by the Department of Defense. They brief families on what they're is doing to bring their loved ones home. Usually, the meetings are held in Washington D.C. but this year they choose to host one in the metro.

The Department of Defense agency that oversees this program, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) is getting its budget slashed from $130 million in 2015 to $112 million this year.

"Even though the budget has been cut were not sitting back and not doing anything. We're making sure that we're still moving forward," Todd Livick, Director of Outreach and Communications at Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency said. 

A key component to the identification process is DNA testing and communication.

Lopez learned Saturday that the odds that his brother's remains are in the National Memorial Cemetery in Hawaii are 50-50 and so the search continues.

For additional information on the DoD's mission, visit the DPAA web site or call (703) 699-1420.