Dean sure remains
are brother’s

The candidate is likely to visit
Oahu for a repatriation ceremony

WASHINGTON >> Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean said yesterday that the search for the long-lost remains of his younger brother may be over with the discovery of bones and other items buried in a Laotian rice field.

Charles Dean has been missing since 1974, when the 24-year-old University of North Carolina graduate was traveling through southeast Asia with a friend, Neil Sharman of Australia.

A joint U.S.-Laotian team discovered remains earlier this month in Bolikhamxai Province in central Laos, said Larry Greer, spokesman for the Pentagon office in charge of POW and MIA issues. The remains have not been positively identified, but Dean said his family is confident they belong to his brother because of personal items found at the site.

The remains are in Laos, but will be taken to the military's identification laboratory on Oahu next week. Dean said he likely will fly to Hawaii on Nov. 26 for a repatriation ceremony.

Joshua Wisch, chairman of Hawaii for Dean, said there were no plans for any campaign appearances or meetings during Dean's trip here.

"The Dean for America campaign has said the governor will not be making any public appearances while he is here. ... He is here just to deal with these family issues and to finally put some closure to the loss of his brother," Wisch said.

Hawaii Congressman Neil Abercrombie, an early supporter of Dean, is expected to join Dean while he is in the islands.

Howard Dean had visited the Laos location last year to push for excavation. He said the discovery would be painful not only for him, his mother and his two surviving brothers, but families of every POW and MIA.

"We greet this news with mixed emotions, but we are gratified we are now approaching closure," Dean said after a candidate forum in Bedford, N.H. He did not take questions.

The Dean family has been trying to piece together the details surrounding Charles Dean's death for three decades. Charles Dean graduated from North Carolina in 1972 and went to work on the anti-war campaign of Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern. After McGovern lost to President Richard Nixon, Charles Dean decided to travel around the world.

He and Sharman journeyed to Southeast Asia and were arrested by the communist Pathet Lao on Sept. 4, 1974, during a trip down the Mekong River in Laos. They apparently were suspected of spying, although the U.S. and Australian governments said they were merely tourists and protested their detention.

The two men were held in a small, remote prison camp for three months before they were believed to have been executed on Dec. 14 while driving toward Vietnam with their captors.

Charles Dean, although a civilian, was considered by the U.S. government to have been a prisoner of war. The effort to recover the bodies of Dean and Sharman was coordinated by the Defense Department's Hawaii-based Joint Task Force Full Accounting.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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