ATLANTA —A metro Atlanta man is asking for help solving a grave marker mystery. He’s trying to track down family of a World War II veteran after buying the marker from people trying to sell it for scrap.

“This guy was trying to sell it to the highest bidder, and he was headed to the scrap yard with it,” John Caldwell told Channel 2’s Amy Napier Viteri.

Caldwell said he was visiting a friend on Lakewood Avenue in southeast Atlanta two weeks ago when he came across people selling a grave marker belonging to a Navy veteran. He’s been looking for its rightful owner ever since.

Caldwell said the person found the marker in an abandoned home nearby and gave it to him in exchange for $50. The marker is dedicated to William E. Gaines, a U.S. Navy veteran who passed away in Sept. 1993 at the age of 69. Caldwell asked his son, John Adam, to help him track down Gaines.

“I was outraged that someone would even consider doing something to one of our veterans’ headstone,” John Adam Caldwell said.

He searched online but could not find anyone who matched the description.

“I just kind of felt helpless that this guy could, you know, not have a headstone somewhere,” the younger Caldwell said.

He said his own father was a veteran of World War II and though he does not know William Gaines, he is determined to find him.

“To me, by him not having that, it’s a dishonor. We’ll get it to him one way or another,” he said.

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