Real Name: Linda Sharp
Case: Lost Friend
Details: Jim Baczkowski was drafted to the Vietnam War in December 1967; when he learned that he would be drafted to Vietnam, he called his high school sweetheart, Dolores, asking her to marry him. She accepted and they married prior to his departure. Just one week after their wedding, he was sent to Vietnam. Within three months, he was wounded twice, once in the jaw and once in the leg. On August 29, 1968, just two days before he was to be reunited with Dolores, he and his platoon were attacked. Several of the members were killed and he was seriously wounded, losing his leg in the process. Dolores' parents soon received a telegram that stated that he was wounded and lost his leg.
Jim was rushed by medical helicopter to the 67th evacuation hospital in Quy Nhon. He had a 105 degree fever, an infected wound, and had lost six pints of blood. His first memory after the attack was seeing Captain Linda Sharp, an Army Nurse. Due to infection, the rest of his leg was amputated at the hip. He then had to take frigid baths to lower his body temperature. While taking them, Linda was always at his side, keeping him company. As a week passed, he began to heal, with her always with him. He began to regain his spirit thanks to her. Late one night, two days before he was scheduled to leave, she kept a promise to him; she took him outside and they both had beer together under the stars. She asked about him writing a letter to Dolores. Jim felt unable to do so, so Linda helped. She wrote about his love for Dolores and how Dolores will have to work hard to help him through the difficult, emotional, and physical healing process ahead.
Finally, on September 6, 1968, Jim began his long journey home. Linda was by his side as he was put into a helicopter to leave Vietnam. Since then, he has not stopped thinking about her. He believes that she was the key to his survival.
In 1969, Jim received two awards for his bravery in Vietnam. However, despite the war being over, he still faced a personal war. He still suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. He wants to thank Linda for her help throughout his difficult times.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the March 21, 1990 episode.
Results: Solved. A week before the case aired, Linda Sharp Caldwell saw herself and Jim on a promotion for the show and called the telecenter. Two weeks later, she arrived in Colorado and was reunited with him. She also finally met Dolores and their son. He also presented her with a portrait of Vietnam nurse inscribed with her name. Sadly, he passed away on March 20, 1999; he was thankful for his friendship with her until the end. To this day, Linda remains in contact with Jim's family.
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- ’Nam Raw: Excerpts from 24 Vietnam War Combat Memoirs
- Jim Baczkowski at Find a Grave