Remains of Rock Falls man killed in Korean War identified

U.S. Army Cpl. Richard Seloover declared missing in action in late 1950

ROCK FALLS — Remains discovered in South Korea in December 1950 have recently been identified as a Rock Falls man who was declared missing in action while fighting in the Korean War.

U.S. Army Cpl. Richard Seloover, who was 17 at the time, went missing in action in September 1950; he was accounted for on Jan. 10, 2024, after scientists identified his remains, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency has announced in a news release.

Seloover was a member of Heavy Mortar Company, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division. On Sept. 6, 1950, his unit was engaging in combat with enemy soldiers along the Naktong River in South Korea when Seloover went missing in action. Due to intense fighting in the area, his body could not be recovered at that time.

On Dec. 29, 1950, unidentified remains were recovered from an isolated grave near the village of Bon-Po, South Korea, nearly 5 miles from where Seloover was reported lost. At the time, the remains could not be identified. They were buried as an unknown in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. The remains were labeled as Unknown Remains X-348 for identification purposes, according to the release.

After the war was over, the U.S. Army on Dec. 31, 1953, issued a presumptive finding of death for Seloover, as the exact circumstances of his death were still unknown, newspaper archives show.

The DPAA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Defense, works to recover unaccounted Department of Defense personnel who are listed as prisoners of war or missing in action from designated past conflicts. In June 2021, DPAA personnel disinterred X-348 and sent the remains to the DPAA laboratory for analysis. Scientists from the DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used dental, mitochondrial DNA and anthropological analysis; a chest radiograph; and other circumstantial evidence to identify the remains as that of Seloover, according to the release.

Seloover’s name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial, also known as the Punchbowl, along with more than 8,000 Americans missing from the Korean War. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate that he has been accounted for. Seloover will be buried in Rock Falls at a later date.

As of May 13, 684 missing Korean War personnel have been accounted for; 7,472 individuals are still unaccounted for, according to DPAA’s website.

Payton Felix

Payton Felix

Payton Felix reports on local news in the Sauk Valley for the Shaw Local News Network. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago in May of 2023.