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Old 03-10-2017, 07:11 PM   #16
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I have a strong feeling Mark still perished in Vietnam during the war. I think the family's hope that he survived into the 80s and might still come home was overly optimistic.
I agree too that this was most likely an unitended error by the government. However, after the family kept insisting the remains weren't his based on physical characteristics, they basically told the family to shut up and go away. It seems there were multiple points of discrepancy so the family had a legit case.

I suspect Mark died in Vietnam but it would be hell not to know. There is the possibility he wasn't even on that helicopter. I doubt he was a POW or kept alive after the war, but his family deserves to know. Sadly, most of them are dead now too.
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Old 03-13-2017, 10:42 PM   #17
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Count me in as someone who thinks this was likely an ID error rather than a deliberate coverup. Under the circumstances, it was unfortunately probably pretty likely to occur.
Count me in too. When I was watching the episode I was thinking that the family was grasping at straws too and assumed that the story ended with that forensic guy doing the x-rays and saying that the spinal remains exactly matched old x-rays of his spine. I wonder how he could have been so wrong? Unless the skeletal remains the family got contained different pieces from different people?

But yeah I bet these kinds of mix ups are a lot more common than we'd like to believe. Tbh if I was the family I would rather believe that he was quickly killed in a helicopter crash rather than having been held as a POW where he would have been tortured for who knows how long before dying/being killed.
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Old 03-15-2017, 12:49 PM   #18
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Very glad this episode is available for viewing again on Amazon Prime, as it's one of the more obscure segments and it's quite unexpectedly become an unsolved mystery again in recent years.

Here's another article about the case from 2015. It looks like the Navy formally apologized to the Dennis family for making a mistake:
http://www.9news.com/news/local/viet...ains/132390811
Holy crap! I just finished this segment and while there were some valid concerns of the family (height didn't match, for one), most of their story seemed like wishful thinking. I'm sure he died overseas another way, but it makes you wonder what ever happened to the real Mark Dennis.
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Old 09-30-2017, 10:54 PM   #19
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Just watched this segment. Glad the DNA results have cleared up one part of the mystery. I personally don't feel this was such an innocent mistake. Between the burning of the dog tags and the Navy's repeated lies, they were at the very least consciously covering up a mistake, and possibly their knowledge, or lack thereof, of what happened to Mark Dennis.

Similarly, I can't put a lot of stock into their claim that John King (the man Jerry Dennis met at a bar) wasn't a POW. The only mention of his not being a POW I've seen was on UM. That again came from the Navy, saying they had no record of King as POW, and that was at a time they continually were claiming the body was Mark Dennis. If anyone has a link that definitely proves he was a fraud, please do share.
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Old 11-05-2017, 11:17 PM   #20
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http://www.tampabay.com/news/militar...ietnam/2318696

Here's an updated article that talks about DNA confirming it was Mark Dennis.
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Old 12-09-2017, 06:31 AM   #21
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http://www.tampabay.com/news/militar...ietnam/2318696

For years, Eileen Brady kept the remains in a box in her closet, each bone protected individually in bubblewrap.

Brady, now 80, carried the bones with her when she moved to Largo from Colorado in the late 1990s,. They were a mystery wrapped in plastic that she had handed over to the military two years ago for testing.

Now, they are headed back to Tampa Bay.

In July 1966, the military determined the bones are the remains of her younger brother Mark V. Dennis, 19, a Navy hospital corpsman who was aboard a helicopter when it was shot down in Vietnam. He was the first casualty of the war from his hometown south of Dayton, Ohio.

But four years later, Brady got a phone call from another brother that forever changed her understanding of what happened.

"Pick up a copy of Newsweek magazine," brother Jerry Dennis told her, without saying why.

So she did.

After a few minutes of flipping through the pages, she saw the reason.

"There was a picture of an unidentified prisoner of war," she said. "It couldn't have looked more like Mark if it was Mark."

That picture set off a long, painful and expensive search for answers about what really happened to Dennis, the youngest of four children. Fueled by hope that his brother was still alive, Jerry Dennis spent the rest of his life thousands of hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to prove his brother was not dead but a prisoner of war or missing in action.

It was a search that would result in an exhumation of the remains, divisions in his family, and a strain on his marriage.

One high-ranking Navy medical official who wrote a report about the investigation into the remains called it "a troublesome case."

It was even featured in a 1990 episode of the TV show Unsolved Mysteries.

On Tuesday, the remains return to Tampa Bay, eight months after the military concluded for a fourth time they are Mark V. Dennis.

There will be a dignified transfer ceremony at Tampa International Airport followed two days later by a grave-side service with full military honors at Garden Sanctuary Cemetery in Seminole. A ceremony will be held concurrently in Dennis' hometown.

Eileen Brady accepts the latest findings, but she isn't necessarily convinced.

She closed her eyes and took a deep breath when asked if she truly believed this is her brother.

Her reply: "That's private."



Mark V. Dennis was born Sept. 21, 1946, in Miamisburg, Ohio. He was given his middle initial because he was the last of five children, one of whom was stillborn, his sister said.

His father, Charles Dennis, "had an unusual sense of humor, so he used the Roman numeral," Brady explained.

Their mother, Vera Dennis, became ill after giving birth to Mark, so Brady had to step in.

"I was 10," she recalled. "He was like my first kid. I taught him how to walk."

Brady said her brother was a bit of a rascal. She had to retrieve him when he climbed up into the rafters of their barn, or when he shimmied up a tree.

But he was also "the best of all of us," she said. "He was the smartest and nicest of all the children."

A lineman on the Miamisburg High School football team, Dennis graduated in 1964.

It was the last time Brady would see her brother.

Soon after graduation, Dennis enlisted in the Navy and trained to be a medic, according to his military records. While in uniform, he met and dated a young woman from his high school, Linda Williams, who graduated a year ahead of him.

"He was a very gentle, very caring guy," said Williams, 70.

At first, Dennis was stationed on the aircraft carrier USS Wasp, according to his records. But then he asked for a transfer, Williams said.

"He wanted to go over to Vietnam and help out," she said.

The two would go out whenever he returned to Miamisburg, and eventually, they planned to marry. But that was never to be.



On July 15, 1966, Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Mark V. Dennis was assigned as a medic and acting chaplain to a Marine unit fighting in Quang Tri Province during a battle called Operation Hastings.

He and a dozen others boarded a C-47 Chinook helicopter. It was shot down by the enemy. Six days later, the military identified Dennis. On Aug. 9, 1966, he was buried at Hillgrove Cemetery in Miamisburg, according to Heather Pion of Gebhart-Schmidt-Parramore Funeral Home, which handled the services.

The remains were in such poor condition a closed-casket service was recommended, said his sister, Eileen Brady.

Their shock and grief endured through the years before igniting into a relentless search for answers after Jerry Dennis spotted the picture in Newsweek.

"Jerry fought until the day he died to prove that the remains were not Mark," said Carole Dennis, 77, of Largo, who is Jerry Dennis' widow.

A former arson investigator, Jerry Dennis was familiar with human remains and "had the body dug up," Carole Dennis said.

A review by Michael Charney, director of the Colorado State University forensic lab, determined that the remains did not belong to Mark Dennis.

The body was too short, Carole Dennis said. And it was Asian.

Jerry Dennis was constantly on the go, talking to witnesses and military personnel. One newspaper story from 1985 said he even visited Asia.

There were discrepancies in accounts, said Carole Dennis, with one witness suggesting that Mark Dennis might have survived the crash and wound up a prisoner.

"We spent hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting the government," Carole Dennis said.

Over the years, the case garnered media attention. But despite the hoopla, it was a mystery that never was, according to the military.

Last August, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency released a report confirming that the remains were Mark Dennis. The confirmation was made by DNA testing, said Army Staff Sgt. Kristen Duus, an agency spokeswoman.

Duus said the agency offered its lab at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska after the family once again requested testing. She said, though, that Dennis was never considered a POW or MIA.

The results from Offutt marked the fourth time the military came to the same conclusion. The first time was shortly after Dennis was killed. Then there were tests in 1988 and 1990.



The remains of Mark V. Dennis will arrive in Tampa at 2 p.m. Tuesday to a hero's welcome.

He will be accompanied to Tampa by Navy personnel. After the dignified transfer ceremony, the group will head to the Serenity Funeral Home, which is providing services free of charge. The hearse will be escorted by the Patriot Guard, a motorcycle club made up largely of Vietnam veterans created to protect military funerals from the protests of the Westboro Baptist Church.

Congressman Charlie Crist will recognize Dennis with a notation in the Congressional Record.

The ceremony, 10 a.m. Thursday, will include full military honors and likely a number of veterans groups.

But it won't put the matter of Dennis' death to rest for his family.

Jerry Dennis died in 2002 at 73, never to see the circle close on his lifelong search. And it's been years since his sister and widow have spoken. Carole Dennis didn't even know about the return of the remains until a reporter contacted her.

For Eileen Brady, the arrival of her brother's remains marks grudging acceptance of an end to the mystery and a chance to find peace after more than four decades of wondering.

"I have to accept it," said Brady, acknowledging that the military's test results are more convincing than the results from the Colorado forensics expert. "I no longer have to worry about my kid and nieces and nephews having to deal with this. That is my closure."
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Old 01-25-2019, 09:39 PM   #22
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https://www.tampabay.com/news/milita...ietnam/2318696

It very much was Mark Dennis. The family finally accepted it.
The above article is kinda sad saying how much time and money was spent on this.
The brother died in 2002 believing it wasn't him.

The more I watch UM the more I distrustful I am of the family doesn't believe in the official story narratives.
It be nice to see an example of when they are right in these situations.
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Old 01-26-2019, 10:17 AM   #23
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Unlike the Curt Borton segment, at least the picture of the POW actually did resemble Mark Dennis. What's funny is that the UM wiki article on Mark Dennis says that as early as 1971, his brother knew that the POW wasn't him but this was never mentioned on the UM segment.
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Old 01-26-2019, 03:22 PM   #24
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Unlike the Curt Borton segment, at least the picture of the POW actually did resemble Mark Dennis. What's funny is that the UM wiki article on Mark Dennis says that as early as 1971, his brother knew that the POW wasn't him but this was never mentioned on the UM segment.
I always thought this segment seemed like one of the more credible claims concerning a POW, along with Charles Shelton (which I consider to be the most credible of them all).

The Curt Borton segment still rubs my nerves raw for various reasons. I almost always skip it when it comes on the stream.
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Old 01-26-2019, 04:15 PM   #25
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I always thought this segment seemed like one of the more credible claims concerning a POW, along with Charles Shelton (which I consider to be the most credible of them all).

The Curt Borton segment still rubs my nerves raw for various reasons. I almost always skip it when it comes on the stream.
Agreed. I can definitely understand why Mark Dennis' brother believed this POW was not his brother. Even the DNA tests had a back and forth conclusion, which makes me feel terribly for his family. I don't believe they were delusional; they simply had enough red flags that made them question the official story. The cruelty of the fake POW claiming he was with Mark and calling him a "Preacher" only deepened the mystery for the family, whom I can't fault for believing the story to be legitimate and connected to their loved one.

I also agree that the Charles Shelton story was probably the most credible missing Vietnam soldier story of them all, with enough reason to believe he was alive for some time after capture.

The Curt Borton segment is a doozy. I feel sorry for the family, but it's like a plot stolen from a movie. Accusations of phone tapping, a man with a gun coming after a relative because he made a computer search for Curt's SSN, spying outside of houses, and "sightings" of Curt Borton himself pretending to be someone else yet letting himself be seen by the family? Hogwash.
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Old 01-27-2019, 09:00 PM   #26
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I’m realizing this case might have pushed me into conspiracy theorist territory lol I wonder about the fact that all the lab tests confirming the remains were that of Mark Dennis, were done by the Navy. The lab results claiming the remains weren’t him, were done by an independent lab. I always remain sceptical given that lack of independent corroboration.

Despite that scepticism, I have to say UM loves to sensationalize things that are more straightforward and often leaves things out that don’t fit the mysterious nature of the story. It’s interesting that even with these latest results from the navy, his sister wouldn’t confirm she believes those are indeed his remains.
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Old 05-02-2019, 04:55 PM   #27
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Default S4E13 Missing Person: Mark V. Dennis

As mentioned in the Thread this remains a puzzling segment, which I just re-watched today. Couple of facts to consider:

1. The remains of all of the servicemen aboard the helicopter were identified, except those of Mark Dennis. It was acknowledged that his remains were identified by the process of elimination. One of the survivors stated under oath that 2 servicemen jumped from the helicopter.

2. The November 30, 1970 Newsweekphoto is likely not Mark Dennis, but appears to resemble him more than the soldier who is acknowledged to be the one photographed.

3.The dog tags were scientifically proven to be subject to a low temperature controlled flame. The protocol in Saigon was to produce a set of new dog tags for servicemen who died without dog tags. But obviously if this occurred, why were the new tags burned.

4. Steve Wilcox's encounter is credible, specifically a medic who knew Mark Dennis and was in his unit, who stated that he didn't think Mark died and was not supposed to be on the helicopter when it crashed. He also mentioned that the Navy did not recover 13 sets of remains as the Navy claimed. This encounter occurred prior to the exhumation.

5. The stranger in the bar in December 1986, John King, used the nickname "Preacher" which is quite coincidental given that Mark was the acting unit chaplin. While there was no record of a John King being a POW, he could have used an alias when speaking with Jerry.

6. In this decade, there has been the progression of: (a) a DNA test showing the remains were not Mark's, and an apology from the Navy; (b) an offer from the Navy to do another DNA test; (c) that DNA test showed the remains were Mark's; and (d) a somewhat misleading newspaper article stating the family has accepted that the remains are Mark's, even though the family member interviewed refused to state whether or not she believed they were, in fact, Mark's.
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Old 05-02-2019, 05:02 PM   #28
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As mentioned in the Thread this remains a puzzling segment, which I just re-watched today. Couple of facts to consider:

1. The remains of all of the servicemen aboard the helicopter were identified, except those of Mark Dennis. It was acknowledged that his remains were identified by the process of elimination. One of the survivors stated under oath that 2 servicemen jumped from the helicopter.

2. The November 30, 1970 Newsweekphoto is likely not Mark Dennis, but appears to resemble him more than the soldier who is acknowledged to be the one photographed.

3.The dog tags were scientifically proven to be subject to a low temperature controlled flame. The protocol in Saigon was to produce a set of new dog tags for servicemen who died without dog tags. But obviously if this occurred, why were the new tags burned.

4. Steve Wilcox's encounter is credible, specifically a medic who knew Mark Dennis and was in his unit, who stated that he didn't think Mark died and was not supposed to be on the helicopter when it crashed. He also mentioned that the Navy did not recover 13 sets of remains as the Navy claimed. This encounter occurred prior to the exhumation.

5. The stranger in the bar in December 1986, John King, used the nickname "Preacher" which is quite coincidental given that Mark was the acting unit chaplin. While there was no record of a John King being a POW, he could have used an alias when speaking with Jerry.

6. In this decade, there has been the progression of: (a) a DNA test showing the remains were not Mark's, and an apology from the Navy; (b) an offer from the Navy to do another DNA test; (c) that DNA test showed the remains were Mark's; and (d) a somewhat misleading newspaper article stating the family has accepted that the remains are Mark's, even though the family member interviewed refused to state whether or not she believed they were, in fact, Mark's.
Great summary, Zanzibar!
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