Later this year, Army Private Wayne M. Evans will be coming home. Evans died in a Japanese prisoner of war camp during World War II. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) conclusively identified his remains last year.

According to a news release from the DPAA, Evans was a 21-year-old Army Private with Battery G, 59th Coast Artillery Regiment, in the Philippine Islands when the surrender of the Bataan Peninsula to Japanese forces happened in April, 1942. He was held at the Cabanatuan POW camp until his death July 19,1942, according to research from the American Graves Registration Service (AGRS). His body was buried with others in what is known as Common Grave 312. Over 2,500 U.S. and Filipino prisoners died in that camp.

In 1947, the AGRS relocated the remains of that gravesite to a temporary mausoleum near Manila, but could not identify all of the remains. Those unidentified were interred as "unknowns" at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial. However, in 2018, more study of those who had been in Grave 312 were analyzed at the DPAA laboratory in Hawaii. Scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mDNA), along with anthropological and other evidence to identify Wayne Evans.

Evan's name is on the Walls of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial and, though listed as "Unknown," now a rosette will be placed next to his name showing that he has been accounted for. His name appears on two headstones at Hamilton's Riverview Cemetery, one a military marker and the other on a headstone between his mother and father. No date has yet been set for the return of his remains, but Ravalli Post 47 of the American Legion expects to have details when that date is confirmed.

Wayne Evans marker at Riverview Cemetery. (KLYQ photo)