“From 1994 to 2009 ... teams pursued multiple leads from dozens of witnesses interviewed, including those involved with the attack,” the release reads. “In 2005, a Laotian citizen provided U.S. officials an identification card bearing Blanton's name and human remains purportedly found at the base of Phou Pha Thi.”
Circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools — including mitochondrial DNA which matched that of Blanton's sister — convinced scientists the remains belong to Blanton.
Blanton's family now lives in Hot Springs, Ark., according to the department.
Since 1973, nearly 1,000 servicemen killed in the Vietnam War have been accounted for and returned to their families for burial. More than 1,660 Americans remain unaccounted for from the conflict.