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Charles Dean

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Title: Charles Dean  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Howard Dean, Jim Dean (DFA), William Wurster, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill alumni, 1974 deaths
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Charles Dean

Charlie Dean

Charles "Charlie" Dean (died 1974) was the brother of Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean; Democracy for America Chairman Jim Dean; and political activist Bill Dean. In 1974, Charlie, who had been traveling through southeast Asia at the time, was captured and killed by Pathet Lao guerrillas. His death and the subsequent repatriation of his remains to the United States have been the subject of speculation and controversy.


  • Biography 1
  • Legacy 2
  • References 3
  • Further reading 4
  • External links 5


Charlie attended the 1972 presidential campaign. In 1974, he traveled to Laos to visit a friend who worked for USAID. Together with an Australian friend named Neil Ronald Sharman, Charlie stayed in a bungalow on the Mekong River, planning to meet up with another friend who was serving in the Peace Corps in Nepal.

In early September 1974, Charlie and Neil took a raft down the Mekong River to Thailand. They were stopped at a checkpoint near a small village called Pak Him Boun, two miles southeast of the capital of Laos, Vientiane, by Pathet Lao communist guerrillas who imprisoned the two, apparently because they were carrying cameras. The U.S. Government learned of the capture, and Charlie was classified as a POW-MIA although he was a civilian. Charlie and Neal were executed by the Pathet Lao on or about December 14, 1974.


In 2000, through accounts given by people who had seen the two young men killed, the site where Charlie and Neal were believed to have been buried was located.

On November 11, 2003. Howard Dean confirmed that a joint U.S.-Laotian task force had likely discovered the remains of his younger brother, and DNA analysis subsequently confirmed that the remains were Charles Dean’s.[1]

In May 2004, Charles Dean’s remains were buried with his three brothers and his mother in attendance.

Charlie's death has been widely reported by Howard Dean as having had an enormous influence on his life; such that he wore his brother's belt every day of his presidential campaign.


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Further reading

  • Dr. Howard Dean, Winning Back America (Simon & Schuster, 2003) ISBN 0-7432-5571-2.

External links

  • Winning Back AmericaExcerpt from
  • POW-MIA InterNetwork

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