SANTA FE (KRQE) - An Arizona woman visiting Santa Fe last month made a disturbing discovery in a vacant field near the national military cemetery.
There she found broken pieces of veterans' headstones sitting like trash in an open field.
Staff at the Santa Fe National Cemetery also was appalled when they learned of the woman's discovery from KRQE News 13 on Friday.
"I was walking my dog every morning," Mary Modaff told KRQE News 13. "I started investigating and taking pictures.
The pictures reveal names of fallen soldiers who had been buried next door at the national cemetery.
"It's very upsetting," Modaff continued. "My late husband was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, a captain. My father was a veteran.
"My brother was a veteran, and I think they deserve a whole lot more respect than what they're getting this way."
There are high standards for headstones at national cemeteries. If they are chipped or damaged, according to the National Cemetery Administration, the headstones are to be "destroyed in a manner that obliterates the inscription."
They're also supposed to be disposed of so they can't be reused.
"These are just thrown and strewn," Modaff said. "They're not buried at all."
So how did the headstones end up here?
Santa Fe National Cemetery Administrative Officer Marita Smith said the headstones were originally buried in the back of the cemetery.
But Smith believes the headstones were moved about three years ago by a construction crew that might have not known the broken headstones were mixed in the dirt they moved to the property next door.
Recent rains may have revealed the headstones. Still, the cemetery agrees it's unacceptable.
In recent years the cemetery purchased a machine that crushes damaged headstones into gravel. Cemetery officials are now removing the broken headstones to run them through the machine.
That gravel will then placed in an area of the cemetery that is not open to the public.
A federal civil rights lawsuit filed by a Los Alamos Police Detective against his former employers has been settled for $600,000.
A few tips on how to prevent thieves from taking your stuff over Winter Break, a look at the right to die trial, and other stories with Matt Mauro, Elizabeth Mauro and weather with Meteorologist Kristen Van Dyke.
NMFOG says government agency cannot bar someone from access to information just because it does not like what that person says about the agency.
Some Cleveland High School students say a traffic plan for getting them out of school forces them to take a dangerous and tricky left turn onto a 55 mph road, something parents and staff don't have to do.
An emotional mother is still waiting for answers about what happened to her missing daughter.
The federal jury weighing a life or death sentence for convicted killer John McCluskey has announced it couldn't reach a decision.