There’s a new hope for struggling families in Iowa who may have a missing loved one — they may have a very close relative close by.
KCCI reported a 90-year-old great-grandson of “The Great One” was connected to a missing woman from Texas.
In 1944, Lee Patterson was leading a group of Iowa National Guard soldiers in Colorado. While out on patrol, they encountered Sam Diddle who was reportedly intoxicated and was able to dodge the soldiers and enter a barn. Patterson and another soldier shot and killed Diddle.
The two soldiers fled and were caught several months later and charged with murder. But the soldiers fought back and won an acquittal.
During the trial, Patterson used Diddle’s blood to show his guilt. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity.
KCCI previously reported Patterson would visit with inmates in the Iowa State Penitentiary. But the visit was cut short when Diddle’s family discovered Patterson’s blood had been applied to the inmate’s sweater during the trial.
While trying to get in touch with Diddle’s son, nephew Tom Diddle located the Iowa line, which led to the man he knew as “Harry.”
“It’s unreal,” Tom Diddle said. “The A.I.T. guys were working on it, ‘Yeah we know, we know, we know.’”
Tom said he started searching for his uncle after he lost his aunt and mom in 2013.
“You had to put it aside, you had to put it on the back burner, you just had to live your life,” Tom said.
Thanks to the new DNA technology, they were able to get a match after over six decades. Now, the family is using the blood sample from Lee Patterson to connect with Diddle’s granddaughter.
“I don’t know where my grandmother is anymore,” Diddle said. “I can’t get that out of my head. It’s been overwhelming.”
For the family, connecting with Diddle’s granddaughter is another family blessing.
“This is just a miracle,” Diddle said.
Thomas has created a website in the hopes of finding answers for Diddle and others.
“This was what I hoped would happen,” Thomas said.
When asked if his family planned to contact the courts in case “Harry” does not show up for sentencing, Thomas said, “No, I think this was best left to God.”
Lee’s great-grandson is hoping his story inspires others to step forward if they have a loved one they believe is not where they say they are.
“He left a wife and a four children and he just disappears,” Lee’s great-grandson said.
For the Diddle family, reaching out is an important part of the process.
“It’s my family’s hope that this could be a blessing to their family,” Thomas said.
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