WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command will continue its inquiry into any potential crimes or other improprieties committed at Arlington National Cemetery, a spokesman for CID announced yesterday.
“Secretary of the Army John McHugh stated a year ago that the Army was not done investigating problems at Arlington National Cemetery,” Chris Grey, CID’s chief of public affairs, said at a news conference at the cemetery here. “We are vigorously pursuing any wrongdoing, and if criminal conduct is found, the Army will take appropriate action.” The CID is investigating several allegations involving former employees and activities at Arlington National Cemetery since October 2010, Grey said.
“Army CID currently has ongoing criminal investigations into … the burial of eight sets of cremated remains in one single location at the cemetery, improper burial reservations and possible contract fraud,” he explained.
While CID is the lead agency in the investigation, Grey said the command is working with other agencies to assist with its inquiry into the operation of the national cemetery. “We have asked for, and are currently working, a joint investigation with the FBI,” he said.
Grey said the investigation does not include current administrators and workers at the national cemetery.
He also discussed efforts to identify the eight sets of cremated remains discovered during the investigation.
“CID, in coordination with ANC … was able to identify three of the cremated remains,” he said, noting that cemetery officials have notified the families.
“Two of the three sets of those remains have been reinterred at the families’ request,” Grey said.
One set of cremated remains is still unknown, he said, and three sets were unidentifiable.
“CID is still investigating and working hard to determine the identity of one set of remaining cremated remains,” he said.
Although placing multiple remains in a single grave site is improper, Grey said it was not a chargeable offense.
“Although we are very upset and concerned about the discovery of multiple urns in one grave, our discussions with an assistant U.S. attorney determined that the burial of multiple cremated remains in one grave site does not constitute a criminal violation,” he explained.
The inquiry also led investigators to a storage facility in Virginia, Grey said.
“More recently, 69 boxes of records related to Arlington National Cemetery were found in a storage facility in Falls Church, Virginia,” he said. “[Of those,] 68 were duplicate copies of existing records, and Army CID kept one box containing contract-related information.”
CID officials do not believe the boxes are linked to any potential criminal conduct. With ongoing investigations into other allegations, Grey said the Army CID would go wherever the investigation leads the organization.
“CID, along with senior Army leadership, to include the secretary of the Army, and the new leadership here at [Arlington National Cemetery], takes these issues very seriously,” he said. “[We] are fully committed to investigating all allegations and evidence … that come to light concerning matters of our nation’s most hallowed ground.”
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)