CHICAGO (CBS) — Mark Wallace has been flipping homes for decades, and has found all kinds of odds and ends left behind, but has never made a discovery like this.
The Chicago real estate investor is trying to get a man’s cremains back with loved ones.
Wallace bought a South Side home, planning to fix it up and sell it at a profit. A real estate investor for more than 30 years, he was stunned by what he found inside.
“You don’t find what we found in this home,” he said.
Wallace got the home in a foreclosure sale. In some ways, the home still looks very lived in; washed dishes still in a rack on the counter, an open deck of cards on the table.
“They left a lot of other stuff behind,” Wallace said. “Photo albums behind, some furniture. They left behind some bedding.”
The big surprise, though, was a bag of cremains left behind in a box stashed in a dresser drawer.
“I can’t explain it. I have seen some pretty shocking things, but I guess this is the most shocking thing that I could find,” Wallace said.
A certificate from a funeral home showed the human remains belonged to Elbert William Pearson Jr., who died in 2015 at age 72.
Wallace said it’s not unusual for people to leave all kinds of personal possessions behind when they’re facing foreclosure.
“People are under a lot of stress, and a lot of pressure, and they think the sheriff is coming any minute,” he said.
The funeral home reached out to a relative of Pearson’s, but she didn’t want the cremains. However, Wallace said he’s convinced someone else in Pearson’s family will.
“Contact us, contact Channel 2 so that we can get them the remains of their loved one. I’m sure that they would want that,” he said.
Wallace has a lead on another relative who is interested in the cremains.