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October 21, 2005

New Clues From Body Found in Glacier

- He's now fully thawed and forensic teams are learning more about the frozen airman found at 13,000 feet in the Kings Canyon National Park.

For several hours on Friday, the remains were analyzed and personal property was collected from the pockets of the airman believed to be frozen for six decades.

Now that the ice is all melted, forensic experts got their first good look at the serviceman believed to be a World War II airman.

"He's really not recognizable. So, to look at him facially, you couldn't recognize him that way," said Fresno County Coroner Lori Cervantes.

The Fresno County Coroner says during the latest exam, several interesting items were recovered in the man's pockets, but still nothing to tell them who he is.

"Well, we were able to find some clothing labels, but unfortunately they were unreadable. He had a few personal effects on him, we saw for example the tip of a fountain pen that was popular at the time, a type of sewing kit, some personal effects like that," said Cervantes.

The historical discovery has prompted close to a dozen calls to the coroner's office from people from all over the country who think the airman could be their relative.

Scott Shriver of Pennsylvania believes it could very well be his uncle, Ernest Glen Munn, a 23-year-old navigator trainee in 1942.

Shriver says Munn was on board an AT-7 plane that crashed in Kings Canyon National Park in 1942. Munn's body was never recovered.

"My grandmother made the trip out in '42 and she didn't get very much. And finally, when the plane was discovered in '47, my grandfather went out. They held a funeral because they found remains of airmen, but nothing from my uncle Glen," said Shriver.

Shriver says in talking to the coroner, there are many similarities in the body found and his uncle including the most obvious one, the light hair color.

He says the discovery has his family feeling mixed emotions, "It's going to bring closure to the event for my entire family. But it also dredges up old memories. My mom ... she's sad, she's very sad about it."

The military will spend the next few weeks conducting forensic anthropology tests before they can positively identify the serviceman. After that, they'll locate and notify the family.

The body is still in Fresno, but will leave on Sunday, where it will be driven to Travis Air Force Base before being flown to Hawaii for further examination on Monday.


Copyright 2005 ABC Inc., KFSN-TV Fresno

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