Army investigating mass grave at Arlington National Cemetery

Memorial Day
Emma Youngblood, 5, weeps as her brother Hunter Youngblood, 10, kisses the headstone and says good bye at the grave of their father, Petty Officer 3rd Class Travis L. Youngblood, 26, of Surrency, Georgia, on Memorial Day in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery.Jose Luis Magana / AP
/ Source: NBC News and

The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command is conducting an criminal investigation into the mishandling of remains at Arlington National Cemetery.

The first part of the investigation concerns eight sets of cremated remains found in a single mass grave, Christopher Grey, spokesman for the commandtion, said at a press conference Wednesday at the cemetery.

The FBI is working with the Army on the investigation, begun in October. Grey said that the investigation concerns possible contract fraud and falsification of records, but that no current cemetery administration officials are involved. While multiple urns were placed in a single grave, Grey said multiple burial is not a criminal act.

Through a "myriad of methods" three sets of the remains were identified and two of those have already been re-interred at the families' request, Grey said. Another three sets of remains are unidentifiable.

According to the Washington Post, a federal grand jury in Alexandria, Va. has already subpoenaed witnesses and records relating to the investigation.

Congress had already begun an investigation. Last year lawmakers passed legislation asking that cemetery officials verify that remains in all 330,000 graves are accounted for.

For the past year Arlington has been under new management.

A report released last June by the Army led to the departure of the cemetery's two top officials — Superintendent John C. Metzler Jr. and Deputy Superintendent Thurman Higginbotham. The report indicated a broken management system and mishandling of funds.