Mystery Solved: Coroner Reunites Urn, Ashes With Family

CHICAGO (CBS) — Two weeks ago, WBBM told you about an urn and cremated remains that had been found near a bike path in Hammond. Now the Lake County Coroner’s office has solved the mystery of whose remains they are and they are back with the family.

The coroner’s office got phone calls from people wanting to help.

But Scott Sefton, chief deputy coroner, said it was a staff member who had the answer. That employee had worked at a funeral home before and knew that most cremated remains contain information.

“So what we did was, we sifted through the ashes and we found what I call the ‘golden ticket’ – a little gold medallion that gave us the name of the funeral home and a set of numbers,” he said.

Sefton said they called that funeral home in Owensboro, Kentucky, and soon found out the remains were those of a grandfather whose ashes had been given several months ago to a family in Whiting, Ind.. that had placed them in a storage locker.

When they fell behind on their payments, the locker’s contents were auctioned off and the buyer had dumped what he didn’t want, including the ashes and the urn.

Now they are back with the family.

Sefton said one of the people who called the coroner’s office was a woman whose son had died a decade ago. He said the son’s cremated remains had apparently been in a car that had been stolen and she was hopeful that these were her son’s remains.

“And I had to break the news to her last week, ‘No, I’m sorry. It wasn’t him,'” Sefton said.

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