Marion County native and soldier laid to rest 64 years after death in North Korea

The remains of Lotchie John Ray, a 17-year-old U.S. Army private who died in a prisoner-of-war camp after being captured in a Korean War battle, was finally buried in his native Marion County Friday.

From the Chattanooga TFP:

When he joined, Lotchie Jones meant to make a career of the Army. His career lasted just 293 days from enlistment until he died during 118 days of captivity at Pyoktong Prisoner of War Camp 5 on Feb. 28, 1951.

It would be 64 years before he would make it back to his Tennessee homeland. The Chinese military turned over remains recovered at POW Camp 5 that included Pfc. Jones, but there was no way to conclusively identify Jones until 2014, when officials were able to match remains to the name of a Marion County boy who caught a fateful bus at the Jasper Drug Store in May 1950.

“Most of us didn’t know Lotchie,” Marion County Mayor David Jackson said at the funeral service on Friday. “But we know the Jones family and service of his and his older brothers.”

Remarking on Jones’ arrival Wednesday in Jasper, Jackson said, “Seeing the procession and knowing the story, we were honoring a hero, a man who gave his life so that we may have the freedoms we have today, and it gives closure to the Jones family to finally have their loved one home.”