Portions of 9/11 victims’ remains taken to landfill, report says
By Craig Whitlock
Some human remains recovered from the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pa., were incinerated and dumped in a landfill, the Defense Department said Tuesday in the latest revelation about mishandled body parts at the Dover Air Force Base mortuary.
A new Pentagon review of the troubled mortuary disclosed several other problems — including fresh allegations of fraud and misplaced remains — over the past decade despite previous assurances by Air Force officials that they had adequately investigated operations at the base.
The revelation that “several portions of remains” recovered from the Pentagon and Shanksville ended up in a landfill was mentioned briefly on the latter pages of a report released Tuesday after an investigation led by retired Army Gen. John P. Abizaid.
The report said that the Sept. 11 remains in question “could not be tested or identified,” apparently because they were too small or charred to allow for DNA analysis. The remains were cremated and then mixed with biomedical waste at the Dover mortuary, where they were given to a contractor who incinerated them and dumped the residue in a landfill.
The report cites Army and Air Force memos from July and August 2002 directing that an unspecified number of “remains from the Attack on the Pentagon” be incinerated.
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The report indicates that unidentified remains from the hijacking of United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in Shanksville, were disposed of in a similar manner. But the Pennsylvania coroner who oversaw the handling of remains from that attack said no body parts from Shanksville were ever sent to Dover or taken to a landfill.
Wallace Miller, the Somerset, Pa., county coroner, said in news reports on Tuesday that all unidentified remains from Shanksville were buried in three caskets on Sept. 12 at a memorial site for Flight 93 as part of the 10th anniversary of the hijacking.