The mystery of a set of remains unearthed in a secret mass grave at Arlington National Cemetery with a photo of a young girl figure skating has been solved after the unknown female has come forward.According to her family, the figure skater is Rachel Stecher, a 19-year-old from Ashburn who was identified after the photo was published by news sites including MailOnline.
Army investigators had been trying to identity the remains for months and had hoped that the picture of the figure skater striking a pose in a short blue dress would help determine whose ashes they were.Solved: The mystery ice skater has been identified as 19-year-old Rachel Stetcher, whose photo was buried with her grandmother's ashesThe photo was found in a plastic bag inside the brass coloured urn which was one of eight sets of cremated remains to be found in October in a grave where only one person was supposed to be buried.Miss Stecher’s mother, Kate Stecher, revealed that it was the ashes of Rachel's grandmother, Gwyn Stetcher in the urn. More...West Memphis Three jailed for the 'satanic' 1980s killings of three boy scouts could be released on new DNA evidence[/*][/list]
The photo had been placed with the ashes because Miss Stetcher was close to her grandmother who died in August 2001.Her mother said that Rachel Stecher, who is in her second year at the Air Force academy, had been inspired to join the military by her grandfather, who who served in the Army for more than 30 years and was a veteran of World War II and Korea.Mrs Stecher's ashes were buried at Arlington in 2001 and her husband's coffin was supposed to be buried below them when he died a few years later.But in 2005 the urn was found in a dirt pile at the cemetery and it is now believed it was then buried in the mysterious mass grave along with seven other remains.Found: The remains were discovered in a secret mass grave at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia (file picture)Three of the set of remains were identified using the markings etched on tags attached to the urns, but investigators believe the other four cannot be identified.
Investigators believed the ice skating photo would help identify the final set of remains.Mrs Stetcher said the family is grateful that the remains can now be reburied in the right place.'We’re happy that she’s going to be back where she belongs,' she told the Washington Post.'It’s a shame that this happened,' but she added, 'it's just human error'.Army special agents restored the weathered, grainy photograph and after studying the advert boards in the background they concluded the photo was taken at the Ice Works rink in Ashton, Pennsylvania sometime between March 1999 and March 2000.
Scandal: After the discovery of a series of errors at the cemetery, Congress ordered Arlington to fully account for its 320,000 gravesInvestigators had believed the girl was 11 to 13 years old when the photo was taken.
They had not known if she was a relative of a deceased veteran whose photo was included so she could be with her possible father or grandfather forever, or if the remains were the girl herself.'We just don't know,' Christopher Grey, spokesman for the Army's Criminal Investigation Division, had told the Washington Post.
The military had hoped that publishing the photograph on MailOnline and other news sites would finally lead to the mystery being solved.
'It's morally imperative that we do everything we can to find out who this is,' Mr Grey had said.
The discovery of the mass grave in October was at the centre of a scandal in which investigators found mismarked and unmarked graves and people buried in the wrong spots at the cemetery.
The Army's CID has been looking at whether the unearthed urns were stashed in the mass grave as some sort of cover up.
The discovery of the areas at Arlington prompted to pass a law demanding the cemetery to fully account for its 320,000 graves.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2028036/Arlington-Cemetery-mass-burial-mystery-solved-figure-skater-photo.html#ixzz1VWFYzyPy
In: Regional News
Tags: Arlington, cemetery, mass, burial, figure, identified,
Location: Washington, District of Columbia, United States (load item map)
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