After months 'unclaimed,' an Army vet will finally be laid to rest

EWA BEACH, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - More than four months after his death, an Army veteran whose body was once unclaimed at the Honolulu morgue will be laid to rest Friday.

The funeral for James "Jim" Sands will be held at the Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery in Kaneohe.

Services will begin at 10 a.m., and the public is welcome to attend.

The 72-year-old vet was hit by a van and killed while trying to cross Fort Weaver Road in Ewa Beach on March 4 around 1:30 a.m.

Records show he had just been discharged from the hospital and was trying to cross with his walker.

Sands was identified through fingerprints, but the Honolulu Medical Examiner was unable to find family members to claim his body.

After months of hitting roadblocks, the department took the unusual step of releasing his name to the public even though next of kin had not been notified.

The story spurred a nationwide quest to find his loved ones. And in less than 24 hours and outpouring of public inquiries, Sands' family was located and officially notified.

His long-lost sister Nicki Sands said she was shocked to learn about her brother's death, but touched to know he has friends who care about him so much.

She's Jim Sands' only surviving immediate family member and now lives in Riverside, Calif.

Photographs and newspaper clippings show Sands paddled for Healani Canoe Club and Hawaiian Warrior Canoe Club and racing in the Molokai Hoe.

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