Once Was Lost: The 70-Year Search for Father Kapaun

For 70 years, the remains of Father Kapaun, a Korean War hero and Catholic priest from Pilsen, Kansas, remained missing. In March 2021, his remains were identified and now they’re back home in Kansas.

Roy Wenzl, author of the 2013 book “Miracle of Father Kapaun: Priest, Soldier and Korean War Hero,” spent five months this year researching the decades of effort that went into locating and identifying Kapaun’s remains.

He traveled to Texas, Delaware, Hawaii and Washington, D.C. to interview scientists and others involved, before joining the Kapaun family on the journey to bring the remains home from Hawaii to Pilsen, Kansas, then to Wichita for final internment.

These are his stories written in 2021 and 2022 for The Wichita Eagle.

Fr. Kapaun Begins Journey Home from Hawaii to Kansas

Kapaun’s homecoming to Pilsen, Kansas, is a somber reunion with community, fellow POW

Father Emil Kapaun laid to rest in Wichita as thousands pay their respects

How Father Kapaun, a war hero being considered for sainthood, was found after 70 years

‘I buried him’: Fellow POW tells of Fr. Kapaun’s final days

In the search for Fr. Kapaun, one man searched longer than everyone else

How DNA work on cave bears led to breakthrough that identified Kapaun, others

Kansas woman pressed search commander for decades: ‘Keep looking

A Mother’s Gift: How Father Kaupan’s mother – and other mothers – helped bring him home

Vatican to Reconsider Whether Father Kaupan Died a Martyr