Camp Pendleton Marine Declared AWOL in 1974 Was Murder Victim

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Oral Alfred Stuart Jr.

The brother of Oral Alfred Stuart Jr. always knew his younger sibling didn't desert the Marine Corps back in 1974. Instead, Carl Stuart believed the little brother he called "Buddy" met with foul play. Now the Cold Case Unit of the Long Beach Police Department has proven him right.

Stuart told the Long Beach Press-Telegram:

Buddy Stuart was misidentified for 37 years as John Doe No. 155, a dead body found on November 10, 1974 near the San Gabriel Freeway in Long Beach.

The 18-year-old Stuart was supposed to report to Camp Pendleton in November of 1974. When he failed to show up by November 22 of that year, the Marines declared him AWOL.

With a grant from the National Institute of Justice, the LBPD recently teamed up with the NCIS Cold Case Homicide Unit at Camp Pendleton to narrow down the possible identity of the dead body - believed to be that of a serviceman because of his tattoos and haircut. Through autopsy photos, Carl Stuart was able to identify John Doe No. 155 as his brother Buddy last week.

According to the Press-Telegram, the Marine Corps has now changed Stuart's status to honorable discharge from that of deserter. In addition:

Stuart's murder, however, remains unsolved. If you have any information that could help the LBPD solve the crime, please call Detectives Bryan McMahon and Mike Dougan at (562) 570-7244 or click here for anonymous tips.