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Veteran’s Ashes Stolen At National Cemetery of the Alleghenies

(Credit: KDKA)

(Credit: KDKA)

Mary Robb Jackson Mary Robb Jackson
Mary Robb Jackson joined KDKA-TV as a general assignment reporter in...
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CECIL TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — It is hard to believe someone would rob the grave of a man who served this country.

But that’s what officials say happened at the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies as the ashes of a veteran are now missing and his family is hoping the public can help.

For the more than 5,000 veterans and loved ones who’ve found their final resting places at the cemetery – and the families who stop to remember – it is hallowed ground.

“This place is like a part of heaven to me. I come here just about every day,” said Ray Usel, a veteran of the Korean War.

However, someone violated the sanctity of the cemetery last Friday. Both the local and the Veterans’ Affairs police are investigating the theft of a Korean War veteran’s ashes.

An urn containing the remains of Air Force Staff Sgt. Miles Young Jr. was removed from a niche in the columbarium – the marble marker face scratched.
Cemetery Director Ronald Hestdalen has never had anything like this happen.

“My heart goes out to the family that has to endure this, and the unknown,” Hestdalen said.

“Everybody was visibly shook up over the fact that just his was tampered with,” said Ralph Cannata.

He said his father-in-law was a medic in the Air Force and served in the Reserves while he worked in the mills. He died in March at 75.

“We’re not sure what to think or what to do,” Cannata added. “We’re just hoping that someone comes up with information – to return it; so we can put him back where he belongs.”

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