Posted at: 02/21/2013 5:24 PM
Updated at: 02/21/2013 6:50 PM
By: Adam Camp, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Veterans finally laid one of their own to rest Thursday - something they said was long overdue.
That's because U.S. Navy veteran Molly Rizzi died in Oct. 2011, but her children paid one cremation deposit and then disappeared.
The Daniels Funeral Home in Rio Rancho kept Rizzi's remains while they looked for someone to claim her.
"It felt a little uncomfortable to know that we had a loved one's remains here," Paul Daniels from the funeral home said.
The remains were not claimed for over a year until the Women Veterans of New Mexico stepped in.
"We took it as our responsibility to help her, and we ended up getting with our organization to get the funds available for her funeral," organization President Judy Quintana said.
Once they paid the final bill to bury Rizzi, other veterans came in to escort her to the Santa Fe National Cemetery. The Patriot Guard Riders adopted Rizzi.
"Thank God for anybody who has serves our country, and especially her because she is very special to us as a family member," Vera Masters of the Patriot Guard Riders said.
"We are her family today. Her body was not claimed, so we are her family. And all veterans are our family," Robert Torrino, another rider, said.
But Torrino also said there are many instances where veterans remains are not claimed by a family member.