The body of a 24-year-old man killed while fighting in Ukraine is now being held as part of a war crimes investigation, his family have been told.
US solider Joshua Jones, 24, was fighting for the Ukrainian Foreign Legion when he was killed on August 26 in the Donbas region.
Russian troops held onto his body for several weeks following his death as his family tried to bring him back to the US.
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Following negotiations between the two countries his family were told Joshua’s body was given back to Ukraine and set to be returned.
However, his family have now been told his body will not be sent back yet – as Russia delay his return as part of an investigation into war crimes.
Joshua’s mum, Misty Gossett, 48, slammed the decision to delay his return after revealing to NBC News all they want to do is put their son to rest.
“Every day this gets prolonged and we’re just trying to put him to rest.”
Misty said the family have been preparing for their son’s return and have funeral arrangements lined up as they await Joshua’s body.
But the wait goes on for the family after she revealed Ukrainians contacted the family to inform her they needed to perform a second autopsy – and requested family members send a DNA sample for testing too.
However, they did not specify what kind of testing was needed.
“We don’t know anything as far as how much longer it’s going to be, when he’s coming home The communication is exhausting.”
The revelation follows just a week after her family were told Joshua would be returned to them after they had secured a deal for his homecoming.
On October 26, the transfer of Joshua’s body in the Zaporizhzhia region was complete, which was witnessed by CNN.
It followed an exhaustive negotiation between the two countries which agreed to a two-hour ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine.
Joshua’s dad Jeff Jones was heard telling CNN in an emotional phone call:
“We got him back!’ I cannot tell you what a burden is lifted off this family. I couldn’t give up that hope.”
But since the return has been held back, Misty fears how long this next stage will take for the grief stricken family.
She admitted they are no closer to bringing him back now:
“We got to the point that we were at a standstill and were told over and over, ‘He’s on a list, he’s on a list, he’s on a list.”