MOSCOW, Idaho -- A more than 70-year long heartache is coming to an end for a local family.
Sgt. Charles Daman was just 21-years-old when his bomber was shot down over Germany during World War II. His relatives at the time were told that his body was never found. That was until just last fall when the family received a major surprise.
Wilbur Tanner never met his Uncle Charles, but he does have a few pictures of him.
"This man right there that's got the silly looking grin on his face and his hat turned sideways," Tanner said.
Daman moved to North Idaho as a boy and graduated from Plummer High School in 1941. Duty then called and he became an Airman where he served on a bomber during World War II. Sadly, he and his crew were shot down over Germany near the end of the war. Just one crew member survived. The bodies of Daman and his colleagues were not recovered.
Relatives like Tanner always believed that his body would be lost forever, until he got a call from the Armed Forces. They said they had identified his uncle.
Crews had been excavating the wreckage site in Germany. It took years for it to happen, Tanner said, because it was on private land and was formerly in East Germany during the Cold War. Researchers located a piece of bone and, using DNA from another family member, identified Sgt. Daman.
"It brings a lot of peace and thought of what happened and why," Tanner said.
Just recently, Daman's remains were returned to the Inland Northwest in a flag-draped casket. They have since been cremated and he will soon be laid to rest alongside his mom in Coeur d'Alene. Until the day she died, she always thought her son would come home.
"I know that I'm now satisfying grandma. Uncle Charles is here. We know where he's at now," Tanner explained.