Missing Earl Jr.

A Glendale couple forges a national alliance and a personal bond in their mutual quest to find the 2,087 Vietnam-era POWs and MIAs

The woman, Colleen Shine, is a POW/MIA daughter. Her family buried the remains of her father, Anthony, in 1996, after a crash-site excavation and lengthy investigation.

Shine has, in a manner of speaking, passed over to the other side. Unlike Hopper and Skelly, she apparently trusts the government officials who worked on her father's case. She and her family have accepted that the remains the government discovered and confirmed as his--through DNA testing--belonged to her father.

Hopper questions Shine closely. Is she sure those remains belonged to her father? Yes. When was the last live sighting of Anthony Shine? 1993, Colleen tells Hopper. And, no, there were no signs, from the remains, that her father had survived that long.

No, Shine tells Hopper, she has no doubt those remains belonged to her father. She's finally just received her father's dog tag--found during the excavation--and pulls a Federal Express envelope from her briefcase, rips it open. There's the dog tag, old and bent. It's passed around the table.

Shine moves on to another story. She traveled to Vietnam last spring to visit a close friend, an anthropologist who leads crash-site excavations. For months, the two had planned to celebrate the anthropologist's birthday together.

Shine arrived in Vietnam, only to find a "beautiful note" from her friend. She was so sorry, the anthropologist had written, but she had to leave for the DPMO office in Thailand suddenly, to argue for another excavation of a crash site that had not yet yielded conclusive evidence--the site along the North Vietnam/Laos border suspected to be where Lieutenant Colonel Earl Hopper, Jr.'s Phantom II went down in 1968.

The fifth excavation of Earl, Jr.'s possible crash site is scheduled for this fall.

Contact Amy Silverman at her online address: asilverman@newtimes.com

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