NJ widow exposes mishandling of troop remains

By BETH DeFALCO | December 10, 2011 | 2:35 AM EST

FRENCHTOWN, N.J. (AP) — It took Gari-Lynn Smith more than four years to learn the truth about where the final remains of her husband, an Army sergeant killed in Iraq, ended up.

The New Jersey widow never thought that knowing would be worse than not, or that her search would lead to the bottom of a landfill.

Smith's husband was killed in 2006 by a roadside bomb. While most of his body was flown back to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, some remains found later ended up in a landfill in Virginia.

Her questions led to an investigation that ultimately found a more disturbing revelation: The Air Force acknowledged this week it had dumped cremated partial remains of at least 274 troops into a landfill — far more than previously acknowledged.

Smith says she had yet to receive an apology.