YOLO COUNTY (CBS13) — After years of wondering about her father and her whereabouts, Kristene Feldhaus came to claim the remains of a man now known as a hero.
The decades-old mystery was solved after DNA evidence found her father was a man dubbed the “Tower Bridge Hero.”
Feldhaus says she feels like a weight has been lifted off her, not only finding her dad but finding out what kind of man he really ways.
“He saw a truck go in and he ran or dove in and never came back so he was trying to help, trying to save people,” she said.
That’s the story she now knows is true. She walked on the Tower Bridge for the first time on Tuesday.
The Yolo County Coroner’s Office recently identified the remains of a 1987 John Doe as James Wray Miller of Iowa. He jumped into the Sacramento River in an attempt to rescue people that drove off of the bridge.
But no one knew who he was.
“I don’t think he went in thinking he was going to die, I don’t think he thought anyone was going to die,” says Feldhaus.
An intoxicated bridge operator raised the span without turning on the warning lights. The truck ran off the span. Two people inside the vehicle drowned. Days later, the body of the attempted rescuer emerged.
A long, confusing process continued, but no one figured out who he was until his daughter came looking. Last year, Feldman went looking for her father through missing persons reports. She came upon a photo she thought was her dad and submitted her DNA. It was a match.
Feldman claimed her father’s ashes from the Yolo County Coroner’s Office on Tuesday. The box had a special plaque describing him as a hero.
“It’s a good feeling, I’m really happy that they think that way of him, he really left a good impression, that’s the Dad I wish everyone could’ve seen,” she said.
Her only regret is that her father’s mother passed away two weeks before the DNA evidence came back identifying him as the hero.