Mystery solved: Man who returned missing 9/11 flag in Everett identified

EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — The man who turned in an American flag raised at ground zero on Sept. 11 to a Washington state courthouse has been identified.

The Daily Herald reports Brian Browne, 45, had seen the coverage of the flag's return to New York earlier this month and contacted authorities. In 2014 he had turned the flag, which disappeared from ground zero, into a fire station in Everett, Washington, but his identity had remained a mystery. The flag is now at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

Browne, a flag collector, spoke with Everett detectives this month. Browne said he got the flag in 2006 from a friend he believed got it from the wife of a former New York City employee.

In 2014 Browne watched an episode of "Lost History" on the History Channel and noticed similarities between the flag and the one described, so he turned it into the local fire station.

Browne, in a statement released by the City of Everett Tuesday, said "my motivation was to return what I thought was lost property" and he was happy that it was now in a museum.