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Family of man who died in Venezuela accident found


FORT GIBSON, Okla. (AP) _ The search for the family of a Tulsa man whose body had gone unclaimed ended Thursday, about an hour after his funeral.

Johnie Willie Jackson Jr., 53, was killed Jan. 6 in an amusement ride accident in Caracas, Venezuela. His body arrived at Tulsa International Airport on Feb. 18 and was sent to Moore's Memory Funeral Home.

Since then, Funeral Director George Jacobs has searched for Jackson's family.

Jackson, who served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War, was given a military funeral Thursday at Fort Gibson National Cemetery.

Jacobs accepted the folded American flag that had been drapped over Jackson's casket.

As he was driving back to Tulsa, Jacobs got a call on his cellular phone telling him Jackson's sister had been located in Pine Bluff, Ark.

``I was amazed at the timing,'' he said. ``I had been thinking to myself that we had done all that we could and that it was in fate's hands. But sometimes things work out that way.''

Jackson's older sister, Ada Jenkins, was told by a friend Thursday morning the Pine Bluff newspaper had printed an article about Jackson's death because he had been born there.

She called Moore's in Tulsa and found out that the funeral was under way.

``We hadn't been close for years, and I kind of lost touch with him,'' Jenkins said. ``It was shocking to find out that he died, but I guess I'm not surprised. When you distance yourself from your family, things happen.''

Jenkins is making plans to notify Jackson's other siblings and his mother. He also had a son and a daughter that she has to find.
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