Mystery solved: Veteran's family found - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mystery solved: Veteran's family found

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The man in this photo has been identified as James Robert Jeske. The man in this photo has been identified as James Robert Jeske.
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SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. -

After airing a story about photos found of a Vietnam veteran and with the help of KHQ viewers, the mystery of the vet's identity and how those photos ended up in a roundabout in Spokane Valley have been answered.

Debbie Mills had found an envelope with those photos more than a year ago in a roundabout near Pines and Montgomery in Spokane Valley. She received numerous correspondence and was able to ultimately find the vet's sister.

Patricia Barnard who is James Robert Jeske's sister was able to confirm that the man in the photos was him. She also was the one who had lost the photos more than a year and a half ago while she was getting them ready for the Wall of Faces.

She met up with Debbie Mills on Sunday to finish the project.

"While his sister was here we scanned the photos and sent them on and today they are actually on the wall," says Mills.

How those pictures ended up in the roundabout, then wound up in the hands of Mills was a miracle.

"She went to make copies to send them on and she said that she put them in the back of her truck and the envelope flew out," says Mills.

Mills says Barnard was emotional when the photos were returned.

"When she saw them, she cried. She was just very thankful," says Mills.

Barnard was able to not only confirm Bob's identity, but also gave Mills some history of the man she had gotten to know through her research.

According to Barnard, Jeske went to Warden High School. She says he was drafted into the Navy and after he finished his term he attended Eastern Washington University where he played college football. Jeske suffered a torn ligament there and his college football career was short lived.

After college he joined the Army and went to Vietnam. Jeske was killed in Vietnam and the cause of death was listed as intentional homicide. He died on February 14, 1971.

Barnard had been trying to get the photos to the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Fund for their Wall of Faces, but when the photos flew out of the truck she thought they were gone forever.

Mills however had been actively trying to find the man in the photo's family. She found Barnard. With the help of Janna Hoehn, a volunteer for the VVMF Faces Never Forgotten project, James Robert Jeske's photos finally found their way onto the Wall of Faces, where he will be forever remembered.

Hoehn, who has worked on retrieving photos for veterans of Vietnam from at least five different states, says she still needs 20 pictures from Spokane alone.

Those names are listed below. If you have photos of the Vietnam veterans listed that are still outstanding and would like to get them on the Wall of Faces, you can email neverforgotten2014@gmail.com.

Charles E. Anderson, 1941-1966, Spokane

Larry E. Anderson, 1948-1968, Spokane

Paul A. Benkert, 1945-1967, Fairchild AFB

James E. Bowden, 1948-1968, Spokane

Prentice F. Brenton, 1926-1967, Spokane

James K. Emch, 1950-1970, Spokane

Ralph H. Franck Jr., 1947-1968, Spokane

Larry E. Graham, 1950-1969, Spokane

Ray E. Hombel, 1949-1969, Spokane

Douglas A. Howard, 1951-1972, Spokane

Roy M. Johnson, 1946-1968, Spokane

Edwin L. Koenig, 1934-1966, Spokane

John E. Laipple, 1949-1968, Spokane

Michael E. McNeal, 1947-1967, Geiger Heights

Royal P. Oden, 1950-1969, Spokane

Joel P. Staunton, 1943-1967, Spokane

William A. Taylor, 1946-1967, Spokane

Henry K. Weitz, 1949-1970, Spokane

John A. Welsford Jr., 1949-1969, Spokane

James A. Wimmer, 1948-1970, Spokane

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