VA morgue mix-up leaves bodies of 28 vets in burial limbo for 18 months

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The bodies of 28 U.S. veterans that have been lying in a Southern California morgue for the last 18 months or so waiting for someone to claim them will finally receive proper burials.

The bodies were finally moved from Los Angeles County Morgue to Riverside National Cemetery for burial, the Daily Mail reported. But how they came to sit in the morgue for over a year is still a mystery.

Veterans Affairs’ and morgue officials accused each other for the delayed burials, the Daily Mail reported.

“I think it’s incomprehensible,” said Richard Burns, one former Marine who volunteers to lead memorial services for unclaimed veterans. “It’s kind of sad that these people don’t get the proper care that they deserve. Even after death.”

There are an estimated 60 bodies in total at the morgue that have been unclaimed and awaiting burial for the past year and a half, local television reported.

“There are about 60 decedents of probable veteran status that have awaited disposition for about a year as a result of a personnel change in the Veterans Affairs office and stringent identification [and] eligibility processes required by the VA,” the morgue said in a statement to local media.

But VA spokeswoman Cindy Van Bibber said the agency’s never been notified by the morgue that the bodies were prepped and ready for burial, the Daily Mail reported. Moreover, she clarified that a proper burial should only take three days.

“We definitely weren’t contacted, or we would have had a service for the veteran,” she said, the newspaper reported.

It’s not clear what’s to happen to the rest of the bodies that have been at the morgue, awaiting clearance for burial for over a year.

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