NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX - It's been 15 years since seven astronauts aboard the Columbia space shuttle were killed when it shattered over East Texas.
To date, about 33% of the space shuttle has been recovered, 55% burned and melter as it entered Earth's atmosphere, and the rest is believed to be buried in places in the Hemphill and surrounding areas.
Over the last 15 years pieces have surfaced in East Texas and some of them have not yet been collected by NASA and are still here.
Nacogdoches County Precinct 4 Constable David Stone was a first responder when Columbia broke apart.
He kept a scrapbook of the months afterwards. The months that involved responding to calls, collecting pieces, and trying to piece together what happened after a large boom was heard, signaling the disaster.
Stone showed CBS 19 photos of pieces in the fields, people standing near them, and clippings from the paper.
He showed a patch intact next to a patch, burnt and ripped, next to it from one of the uniforms.
"This is history, but you know, it's a tragic piece of history, but it's history." Constable Stone said.
Pointing to a picture, he explains it was a hatch piece. Continuing through the pages, Stone points at different photos remembering what they were, or where they were found.
Other pieces he actually has in his possession. They are pieces that were found in the months and years following the event. Several e-mails and calls have been made to NASA about the pieces. Wondering what he is supposed to do with them.
Until an answer comes, he keeps them in evidence in Precinct 4, able to look at them everyday on the job. It's his way of honoring the seven lives that ended and the families that are still mourning loved ones.
If NASA doesn't want them back, he wants to put them on display so that others can see, remember, and learn about what happened in the East Texas sky on February 1, 2003.
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