Fort Worth

Fort Worth family DNA may be key to solving the 80-year mystery of missing soldier

1st Lt. Tommy Taylor served in the Army Air Force 449th Fighter Squadron when he was shot down during World War II, listed as missing, then presumed dead.

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Expeditious is not the timeline for everything. A Fort Worth family may hold the clue to solving an 80-year mystery.

90-year-old Agnes Stamps home is filled with photos of family, but there's someone missing in the pictures; 1st Lt. Tommy Taylor.

"He was my mom's grandmother's sister's son," Stamps daughter Laura Thomas said. "This was the first time we'd heard of him, was when the genealogist contacted me."

A genealogist contracted by the Army to find Taylor's living relatives.

"I'm the last (oldest) living relative," Stamps said. "So It's nice to find out."

Stamps swabbed her cheeks to send a DNA sample back to confirm Taylor's identity, and bring him home...80 years after he was shot down in World War II.

"They're going to confirm whether or not you are actually the oldest living relative of this Tommy," Thomas said as she helped her mother with the DNA test. "It says you're the maternal first cousin once removed. That's why they're checking this DNA for."

"He was a kid," Thomas said. "And his plane went down," Thomas' husband Robert Thomas said.

According to an Army report sent to the family, 22-year-old Taylor was on a bombing mission with the Army Air Force 449th Fighter Squadron when he was shot down over southern China on October 31, 1943. He was listed as Missing in Action and then Killed in Action, which remains unrecoverable.

Thomas as her mother sent in DNA samples to confirm Taylor's identity and family so they can bring him home. Taylor was born in Johnson County and then moved to Falfurrias, Texas before going into the service.

"It was shocking at first," Robert Thomas said. "You realize how important it is that his remains were found."

According to the Defense POW MIA Accounting Agency, last year they recovered the remains of 88 World War II service members.

"If we can help do our part to help identify this soldier and bring him home, I think that's pretty awesome," Laura Thomas said. "It's an honor to know that I'm related to someone that died for our country."

The Thomases are hoping to find other family ties, fellow soldiers, or friends of Taylor's family.

"He was a Texan," Robert Thomas said. "He needs a hero's welcome."

Now the family waits for DNA results. If they are related, they will lay Taylor to rest.

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