PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - The remains of a soldier killed during World War II finally come home to Philadelphia.
It took 75 years for the Ragucci family to get the closure they so desperately needed.
The news came by telegram on December 23, 1943 that 19-year-old private Emil F. Ragucci of South Philadelphia had been killed.
Emil died during a battle on the central Pacific atoll of Tarawa. More than 1,000 Marines were killed on the beach in three days. The Raguccis and others were told their loved one's body was not recoverable.
Five Ragucci boys served in the military. Just 10 days after Emil’s death, brother Nick was killed.
They were able to have a funeral for Nick, but Emil was always the missing piece of the family.
Years passed, but with the help of tech-savvy family members, they learned there were groups helping descendants of those killed in Tarawa.
On August 14, 2018, Private Emil Ragucci was buried with full military honors alongside his parents at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery on Cheltenham Avenue.