WANAQUE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A military mystery dating back more than a hundred years has finally been solved.
Police in Wanaque, New Jersey have been working to return a lost medal from 1917, given to World War One veteran Dan Battaglia.
He was a bachelor with no kids, so officers spent weeks digging into records and combing social media to try and find any relatives.
As it turns out, his family was still living in town all along.
“It brought back memories,” relative Janice Sannik said. “We used to have him over for the holidays and, you know, the family was together.”
“All out policemen, they do a great job in this town,” relative Tom Luciani said. “We’re proud of them.”
Battaglia is a common name and 100-year-old records are hard to come by. For more than a month, police had been assembling information to locate any remaining relative of the WWI vet.
Police found the relatives, who turned out to be distant cousins, after asking seniors in town if they knew Battaglia. Luckily, one veteran said yes.