JOHNSTON, Iowa -- An Iowa Marine will finally be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery all because of a Facebook post that helped find his next of kin.
In 2009, Stephanie Maiers said she wrote a letter to Senator Harkin on behalf of Lance Corporal John D. Killen, who went missing in action during the Vietnam War.
“I received letters back that they were looking for the remains of the soldiers still, but they had not found anything,” Maiers said.
Just a few weeks ago, Maiers received another letter saying they found a group of soldiers' remains and they had been returned to the United States, but needed her help finding the next of kin.
“They were unable to find the family members. So I’m like, well I have to find this family, so I got on social media,” Maiers said.
Maiers made a post on Facebook that has been shared over 800 times.
“About two hours later, I received a message that said, 'this is my uncle and my mom wants you to call her.' So I called his sister, who is Mary Killen Boozer, and we spoke and I told her that they had found the remains,” Maiers said.
Boozer said that phone call was an incredible moment.
“When I let my brother Dave and my sister Becky know, they both were in tears because it’s been, like, 50 years, literally, since he was killed. And we just figured it was too late and we would probably never find out,” Boozer said.
She remembered how tough losing her brother was on the entire family.
“My mother died thinking there was a chance he was still living, and so she kept hoping he would walk in the door, and of course that was never going to happen,” Boozer said.
Boozer was six years old when she lost her brother, but still holds on to one single memory of him.
“I remember him taking me on a bus ride and we went shopping and he bought me some Flintstone stuff,” Boozer said.
She believes it was truly a miracle Maiers found them.
“If it wasn’t for Facebook, we wouldn’t have this really important information, and we are going to be able to lay him to rest finally. It means everything to us,” Boozer said.
Maiers said she was happy to help and plans to write more letters on the behalf of missing soldiers in the future.
“I’m just happy they’re able to lay their loved ones to rest now,” Maiers said.
The family expects the service to take place at Arlington National Cemetery sometime in August.