6 years later: Post Office apologizes for 'deceased' on soldier's returned letter


A Duluth woman whose letter to her son serving in the Army in Iraq in 2006 was returned and stamped "DECEASED" has received a formal apology from the U.S. Postal Service, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

Joan Najbar's son had not died. The apology, received by Joan Najbar just last week – six years later – was written by a Twin Cities-based district manager and came through U.S. Sen. Al Franken’s office, the newspaper reported.

“It’s over now. I can put this to rest. I got a sincere apology and a promise that they will work to keep this from happening again,” Najbar told the News Tribune. “We’ll never know who did this. I don’t even care anymore. I just don’t want it to happen again.”

A Department of Defense spokesman at the time said the military mail system doesn’t have “DECEASED” stamps. Postal officials also say they would never stamp a letter “DECEASED.” Najbar sued the federal government over the issue in 2009, but the case was dismissed by a judge in 2010, who ruled he did not have authority to take action on her complaint.

Najbar's son now lives in the Twin Cities.

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