The children of a 1994 jet-crash victim found bits of bone and a human hand at the accident site, a discovery that upset them and shook their mother's faith in official accounts of the handling of remains.
Lou Ann Henry said Friday that she and her four children drove about 150 miles from their home in Reynoldsville to the USAir Flight 427 crash site on March 31, hoping to find a memento of Melvin Henry.Instead, they dug up a hand with flesh on it and a bone 5 or 6 inches long and found on top of the ground three bits of bone Lou Ann Henry believed to be skull fragments.
Two of her children have since had recurring nightmares.
"If they could find that, how do they know they got their dad? How do they know there isn't some animal eating him or digging him up?" Lou Ann Henry said.
She said her husband's remains, released by the Beaver County coroner's office after the crash, consisted of a lower jaw and teeth.
Flight 427 plunged into woods near Pittsburgh International Airport on Sept. 8, killing all 132 aboard. The cause was never determined, and the completeness of the destruction complicated the identification of the remains.
Lou Ann Henry said she gave the remains to a representative of the Beaver County coroner's office.
Coroner Wayne Tatalovich did not return telephone calls Friday to say whether he had received the remains.
He told Johnstown television station WJAC that recovery workers made sure no human remains were visible when they finished at the site last fall, some going over the area on hands and knees, others using metal detectors and trained dogs.