Widow fears she won't live to see husband buried in Minnesota

A Minnesota family believes the United States government has withheld information, and even deceived them, about their relative who has been missing in action since World War II.

With her health failing, Catherine Tauer, 94, said she hopes to live long enough to see her husband get a funeral at Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis with full military honors.

"I'd like to see his casket and I'd like to see him buried there before I pass on," said Tauer. "Please, please, please bring him home.”

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jerry Jacobsen, was last seen alive in 1944 on a battle field in France.

For seven decades, he's been listed missing in action.


Last fall, a Fox 9 Investigation revealed evidence Jacobsen might be buried in a grave marked "unknown" at a Normandy Cemetery.

Turns out the U.S. Defense Department had been alerted to the same information in 2008 but did nothing.

The story got the process moving.

The grave was exhumed in November and the remains flown to a forensics lab in Nebraska for DNA testing.

"They have lied to, they have deceived, they have kept my family members in the dark for nine years," said Jacobsen’s nephew, Brad Jacobsen.

Over four months have passed. The family still has no answers.

"We've heard absolutely nothing, nothing at all. It’s so disheartening," said Serena Garceau who is Tauer’s niece.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency spends tens of millions of dollars a year to recover and identify the remains of missing service members. It has access to the latest DNA technology which is capable of turning around results in a matter of a few weeks.

If ever a family deserved "top priority" it's this one. 

Two Jacbosen brothers were killed in WW II, a third was wounded and another died serving in Vietnam.

One sister, Jackie Lebath, is still alive but like her brother's widow, she's in poor health.


The Fox 9 Investigators contacted the Department of Defense on the Jacobsen family's behalf.
The reason for the delay, the Fox 9 Investigators were told, is that the remains in the casket were co-mingled, meaning there's more than one person that needs to be identified. Initial DNA testing was inconclusive, so a more advanced test is being done. Those results are pending.

A military spokesperson told the Fox 9 Investigators "all of our families are important and everyday our staff work tirelessly to identify our nation's missing and return them home."

The family is astounded that it took an inquiry from a reporter before the Pentagon provided any kind of an update on their case.

"What they've done is unforgivable to me," Brad said. "This is standard operating procedure for these agencies. This is the way they treat families and it's shocking."

Tauer has waited a lifetime for the love of her life to return to Minnesota.
Four months ago she was hopeful, now she fears she will never see it happen.

"Please, please bring him home. That's all I want. I hate to die with a broken heart," Tauer said.