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U.S. DECLARES `LAST POW’ OFFICIALLY DEAD

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Dorothy Shelton traveled the world for 25 years, seeking some shred of proof that her flier husband, shot down over Laos, might be alive. Finally, she gave up hope, committing suicide four years ago.

Tuesday, Air Force Col. Charles E. Shelton, the last officially designated Vietnam-era prisoner of war, was declared killed in action.His status as America's last remaining POW in Vietnam had symbolized U.S. determination to make sure every MIA in southeast Asia was accounted for.

The Sheltons' five children had asked for the change.

"I personally cannot imagine him being alive still," son John Shelton said from his Los Angeles home Wednesday. "We want to put it behind us. It's shaped our lives, and we want to take control and shape our own lives."

Shelton was shot down over the mountains of Laos on his 33rd birthday, April 29, 1965.