Hikers in California’s Sierra Nevada found the remains of a Japanese internee from World War II

Late last year, two hikers were traversing an alpine path, high in California’s Sierra Nevada range, when the unexpected happened: they stumbled upon human remains.

The hikers reported their surprising find to local authorities. Once the weather cleared up nine days later, officials from Inyo County recovered the remains, sending them to the coroner’s office for examination.

That’s where the story takes another unusual turn. The remains belonged to Giichi Matsumura, a Japanese man who had lived in an internment camp for those of Japanese ancestry during World War II, according to a DNA analysis by the Department of Justice.

The 46-year-old Matsumura was living with his family and 11,000 other incarcerated Japanese at the Manzanar War Relocation Center when he joined a group of fisherman on July 29, 1945, to venture up into the high mountain lakes, according to a news release from the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office.

Several days later, on August 2, he left the main group, venturing out on his own to paint and sketch in solitude among the sweeping mountain vistas.

But a storm came, and in the aftermath, the fishing group couldn’t find their lost friend. They hiked down the mountain, hoping Matsumura had beaten them back, but he wasn’t there either. He died in the mountains.

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