The mystery behind a fallen soldier of a tiny town tucked away in the north-western most corner of the state has finally been solved, after more than half a century. The Defense Department has identified the remains of Staff Sergeant Norman Nell of Tarkio 63 years after his B-24 Liberator went missing during World War II. The department says Nell’s bomber crashed in the Finesterre Ranges of New Guinea in 1944. He was an assistant engineer.
Thelma Woolsey was Nell’s high school classmate. She says it was a high school memento that helped identify Nell after all these years. Investigators found Nell’s class ring among the wreckage and used it along with DNA tests to identify the soldier.
Woosley says Nell’s parents never gave up in trying to figure out what happened to their son. She says his mother wrote wrote letters to the government and to other parents whose children were missing from the same crash for years in an attempt to find out what happened. His mother passed away in 2002 at the age of 104. His father died in 1948. Nell was an only child. His remains will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery with military honors.