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Decades later, veteran’s missing medal finds its way home

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DENVER — A long lost purple heart, dug up by a dog in a Denver backyard a decade ago, finally finds its way home.

The mystery has been solved.  Last week we brought you the story of a search for living relatives of Corporal Richmond Litman.  CPL Litman was an army veteran wounded in the Korean War and awarded the purple heart.

He died in 1990 but his purple heart was discovered a decade ago, feet underground.

Sunday his daughter stepped forward to claim the medal she says her father cherished so much.

With a smile on her face and a medal pinned to her collar, Smuckers the lab sat among rows and rows of our country's buried heroes.

“She`s a great dog, you know,” said her owner Steve Jankousky.

She's at Ft. Logan National Cemetery to return a Purple Heart 10 years after she dug it up.

“We dusted it off and we saw your father`s name, Richmond Litman,” Jankousky says to Leatra Plick, describing how he found it in the hole dug by Smuckers.

Finding Plick, took help from the organization Purple Hearts Reunited and a plea to the public on the news last week.

“I was glad we could do this for her and her dad,” Jankousky said of finally being able to return the medal.

“It`s a miracle. That`s what it is, a God sent miracle,” Plick said of the medal being found.

Sunday, Plick was introduced to Smuckers, who she calls her “shero”.

And reunited with the medal she knows means so much.

“To see his name on the back. And just to know, when he was alive he had held this in his hands and to know that I`m holding it in mine. It`s a wonderful feeling.  I will honor this Purple Heart as long as I live,” she said.

Cpl. Litman's daughter doesn't know how the medal ended up buried in a back yard, blocks from where she grew up.

The Purple Hearts Reunited organization has now returned more than 150 military medals to veterans or their families.

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