BUSHNELL, Fla. (WFLA) — The cremated remains of a veteran’s widow who requested to be laid to rest with her husband were mixed with the wrong remains, according to Department of Veterans Affairs sources.

Florida National Cemetery Executive Director Kirk Leopard said the Bushnell facility has about 41,000 plots where cremated remains are interred.

Leopard would not comment on the mistake that sources said occurred late in the summer. Like Leopard, VA spokesman Les Melnyk cited privacy concerns in initially not commenting about the mistake.

“Out of respect for the privacy of Veterans and families who receive VA memorial benefits, we are unable to discuss specific benefits or services,” Melnyk said in an email.

Melnyk apologized three days after 8 on Your Side pointed out there were no questions aimed at the agency about the identities of the people victimized by the mistake.

“We are regretful for the comingling of cremated remains at Florida National Cemetery,” Melnyk said. “We resolved the matter as quickly as possible, and to the satisfaction of the affected parties.”

The names of “the affected parties” were not released.

After a number of local funeral homes chose not to comment for fear of damaging their relationship with the cemetery, 8 on Your Side reached out to Jack Hales, an attorney who specializes in funeral home negligence.

“You’ve got one chance to get it right. The emotional impact is obviously devasting,” Hales said. “How else do you sit here and measure the wrong here? You can’t quantify it.”

VA sources said the separation process was possible because the remains were different colors.

A view of two bags of cremated remains unrelated to the incident at Bushnell shows remains are not all alike due to how they are processed.

But Hales said it would be very difficult to effectively separate powdery ashes that are mixed together.

“You’ll see some remains are more bleached than others but even then, a perfect separation if they actually mixed the cremains? It’s hard to imagine,” Hales said. “One time is too many here. You can’t treat this as a cost of doing business when you handle funerals and burials. Once it is done it is done.”

No one from the VA responded to questions about whether anyone was disciplined after the mistake.

According to Melnyk, the VA is unaware of any other “comingling of cremated remains at Florida National Cemetery or any other national cemetery since 2015.”

Melnyk did not elaborate.

There were 6,941 burials at Florida National during fiscal year 2021, according to Leopard who said the facility is one of the busiest veterans’ cemeteries in the country.