Friday, September 7, 2007

Part Six - Mark Warren Judge

PUBLICATION FORT WAYNE - THE JOURNAL GAZETTE
ALL CONTENT COPYRIGHT © 1996 FORT WAYNE - THE JOURNAL GAZETTE AND MAY NOT BE REPUBLISHED WITHOUT PERMISSION.
TAG: 199605140006

DATE: Tuesday, May 14, 1996
EDITION: FINAL
SECTION: A SECTION
PAGE: 1A
ILLUSTRATION: SEE MICROFILM FOR CHART SHOWING HISTORY OF REMAINS
SOURCE: By Tracy Van Moorlehem The Journal Gazette

DENTIST: REMAINS AREN'T CITY SOLDIER'S

The remains buried in a Fort Wayne soldier's grave are actually those of a fallen comrade, a local dental expert has determined. Dr. Phillip O'Shaughnessy determined the remains, thought to be those of Pfc. Mark Judge of Fort Wayne, are those of Cpl. William A. Berry of California. He drew that conclusion by comparing the remains against Berry's original dental records.

``There's no doubt in my mind that this was the body of William Berry,'' O'Shaughnessy said Monday. Judge's mother, Mary Jellison of Fort Wayne, had the remains exhumed in April. She commissioned O'Shaughnessy's study after two years of wrangling with military officials about how to settle a suspected mix-up of remains identified 30 years ago. Judge and Berry were among 31 killed by North Vietnamese soldiers while defending a Marine outpost south of the demilitarized zone near Con Thien. Gunfire in the ambush was so fierce that 15 bodies had to be left behind. When U.S. forces returned three weeks later, only 14 could be found. Mortuary workers identified the others as best they could, determining that the missing soldier was Lance Cpl. Kenneth Plumadore of New York. They returned a set of remains to Jellison, who buried her eldest son, grieved and then tried to rebuild her life. So the story would have ended, but for a new set of remains found in 1986 that cast doubt on the original identification. Military officials contacted Jellison in August 1994 to tell her of the possible mix-up. They said they believed the new remains to be Judge's, the Fort Wayne remains to be Berry's and the remains buried in Berry's California grave to be Plumadore's. The military said a DNA test confirmed that the 1986 remains were Judge's. But Jellison doubts the accuracy of the test and has asked for a private DNA test to confirm the findings. On Monday, she said the case was at a standstill. ``I don't know what the next step is going to be,'' she said. ``I wish they would get it settled. I wish they would make a move one way or another.'' Her greatest fear has been that the military would take away the Fort Wayne remains without proving to her satisfaction the 1986 remains are her son's. O'Shaughnessy, a forensic odontologist who is volunteering his time to help Jellison, said he too hopes the case is drawing to a close. He said the next step will be to examine the 1986 remains and conclude whether or not they are Judge's. While he understands how difficult the revelation has been for Jellison, O'Shaughnessy said he believes military experts are trying to do the right thing by her. ``The question always remains, why didn't they let the thing go? Instead, they took the more difficult route and told the families involved they may have made a mistake. You have to commend them for that.'' But Jellison wonders why, after finding the remains in 1986, it took eight years to notify her and the other families of the snafu. ``If they knew it was Mark, why didn't they let us know? You don't keep a boy on a shelf for eight years and not let a mother know,'' she said. Beverly Baker, a spokeswoman for the Department of Defense, said the military has not scheduled a review board to rule officially the Fort Wayne remains as Berry's. ``There have been no changes on the case as of today,'' she said Monday.

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