Tuesday, April 30, 2013

MIA Vietnam War Vet Found?

MIA Vietnam War Vet Found?, During the Vietnam War, the U.S. government declared approximately 1,350 people taken as prisoners of war or MIA. Among them was U.S. Army Sgt. John Hartley Robertson whose helicopter was shot down over Laos 44 years ago. He was presumed dead.

Now, Canadian documentarian Michael Jorgensen said he's found Robertson living in a small village in Vietnam. He said that Robertson cannot remember how to speak English nor does he recall the names of his family members.

He's documented the case in his upcoming film "Unclaimed." The film is premiering Tuesday at the Toronto Independent Film Festival.

The story depicts Vietnam veteran Tom Faunce who went on a humanitarian journey to Southeast Asia in 2008. While he was there, he heard tales of an "Army brother" who had been abandoned by the government and living a new life in Vietnam.

Jorgensen was hesitant of the man's claims, with the original angle of the documentary set to reveal Faunce to be a fraud.

"The MIA story was pretty unbelievable, pretty grandiose," Jorgenson told the Daily Mail. "Tom went to meet him and was very skeptical, grilling this guy up and down, trying to get him to break."

During filming, Jorgensen began to realize that Faunce's story appeared legitimate. The man found in Vietnam relayed his story through a translator. He told filmmakers that he was immediately captured as his helicopter went down in flames.

He was imprisoned in a bamboo cage and tortured for a number of years before he was finally released, mentally and physically exhausted.

"I thought I would die. I never said anything, though they beat and tortured me," he said.

Upon his release, he encountered a Vietnamese widow who took him in and took care of him until he was well enough on his own. He eventually married her and assumed her late husband's identity -- a French-Vietnamese man named Dan Tan Ngoc, according to SF Gate.

Skeptics allege that Faunce has insufficient evidence to prove who he met was actually Robertson. He responded that he also didn't have conclusive evidence to the contrary.

Robertson's family was quick to embrace the estranged family member, forgoing DNA testing for total acceptance of the belief that this man is indeed the long-lost sergeant.

"There's no question," his 80-year-old sister Jean Robertson Holly told Raw Story. "I was certain it was him in the video, but when I held his head in my hands and looked in his eyes, there was no question that was my brother."

The alleged Robertson's wife, however, dropped out of the filming of the documentary with no rationale as to why.

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