North Texas Woman to Meet Stranger with Father's POW Bracelet

For the many families whose loved ones disappeared during war, Memorial Day is another reminder of the questions that still linger.

A North Texas woman is among them, but as she waits for answers to what happened to her dad, a stranger wants to bring comfort that their loved one may be lost, but he'll never be forgotten. 

Louann Pike is still haunted by her darkest day.

"I saw the car coming and I knew and I wouldn't open the door. Finally opened it and they said Louann, plane went down but he's only missing. Okay, I can live with that," Pike said.

Her husband, Lieutenant Commander Dennis Pike, was forced to eject during a bombing run over Laos on March 23, 1972. 46 years later, his family still lives in limbo.

"You always believe that eventually one day he would be released or he would find his way home," said Shannon Spake, who was just two and a half when her father disappeared.

Spake now travels the country to honor prisoners of war and those missing in action. She rides a motorcycle with Run For The Wall, an organization with the motto "we ride for those who can't". The group makes annual trips to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C.

NBC 5 talked to Spake about Lieutenant Commander Pike from her home in Haslet two years ago. That story just reached Marianne Horn in Connecticut Sunday night.

"It was an amazing feeling to see the family of somebody's name that I had cherished and grown up with," Horn said.

She's been holding onto an original POW bracelet with the navy pilot's name for decades. The bracelets were sold during the war, letting strangers show support for captured and missing troops.

Horn sent us a picture of it to show the Pike family, with plans to give it to Spake.

We connected the two women by phone on Monday.

"It means the world to us as a family," Spake told her.

"He's meant something to me since I was 7 years old. I held onto that bracelet and I'm not even sure why," Horn replied.

Both were just kids during the 70's, but now share the legacy of a man, lost during Vietnam.

In the hours following their phone conversation, Horn and Spake made plans to meet in Washington D.C. this June. Spake is attending the National League of POW/MIA families there and hopes to leave the bracelet at the Vietnam Memorial.

So far, LCDR. Pike's family has recovered 22 artifacts, including his U.S. Navy helmet and flight suit, but not his body. He's been labeled "Presumed killed in action," but the family never gave up hope that he may have survived. 

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