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Cremated remains of Jonestown bodies found in Del.

DOVER, Del. (AP) - The cremated remains of nine victims of a 1978 mass cult suicide-murder in Jonestown, Guyana, have turned up in a former funeral home in Delaware, officials said Thursday.

The state Division of Forensic Science has taken possession of the remains, discovered at the former Minus Funeral Home in Dover, and is working to make identifications and notify relatives, the agency and Dover police said in a statement.

On Nov. 18, 1978, gunmen from the Peoples Temple cult ambushed and killed U.S. Rep. Leo Ryan of California, three newsmen and a defector from the group at a remote jungle airstrip as they visited on a fact-finding mission to investigate reports of abuses of members.

Cult leader Jim Jones then orchestrated a ritual of mass murder and suicide at the temple's nearby agricultural commune, ordering followers to drink cyanide-laced grape punch. Most of them complied, although survivors described some people being shot, injected with poison, or forced to drink the deadly beverage when they tried to resist.

After the deaths, bodies of 911 massacre victims were brought to Dover Air Force Base, home to the U.S. military's largest mortuary. Many of the bodies were decomposed and could not be identified. Several cemeteries refused to take them until the Evergreen Cemetery in Oakland, California, stepped forward in 1979 and accepted 409 bodies. The remaining victims were cremated or buried in family cemeteries.

On Thursday, the dilapidated former funeral home in Dover had a padlock on the double front doors. The building showed few signs of its former use, although a floral design was etched in glass panes at the entrance. Dead vines hung from the building's white plaster walls, and cracked windows were repaired with blue tape. Torn carpet and damaged title could be seen inside. Out back, beer and soda cans, broken cinder blocks and empty cigarette packs littered the ground. There were two areas of disturbed soil, each about the size of a child's wading pool. The grass was overgrown, reaching 10 inches in some areas.

Last week, the Delaware agency responded to a request to check the former funeral home after 38 containers of remains were discovered inside. Thirty-three containers were marked and identified. They spanned a period from about 1970 to the 1990s and included the Jonestown remains.

On Wednesday, Delaware authorities also conducted an "exploratory excavation" on the former funeral home property after finding areas of loosely compacted soil, looking for other unclaimed, cremated remains. They discovered an arrowhead, two animal bones, oyster shells and charcoals.

Searchers also found several bronze gravesite markers for deceased veterans who served in World War I through the Vietnam War.

Jones ran the Peoples Temple in San Francisco in the early 1970s. He established a free health clinic and a drug rehabilitation program, eventually emerging as a political force. He became chairman of the San Francisco Housing Authority in 1976. But allegations of wrongdoing mounted, and Jones moved the settlement to Guyana, the only English-speaking country in South America. The cult leader believed he would be safe there from what he perceived as media and police persecution. Hundreds of followers moved to Jonestown, seeking socialism and racial harmony.

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Walt August 07 2014 at 3:56 PM

This same mentality overtook most Americans in 2008 when they followed another messiah who promised change and racial harmony. If you don't learn anything from history, you are bound to repeat it....

Flag Reply +41 rate up
16 replies
petpetdon August 07 2014 at 3:57 PM

Now if we could get the Obama supporters to drink cyanide-laced grape punch. We could get the USA back on track.

Flag Reply +24 rate up
23 replies
myroguisheyes August 07 2014 at 3:45 PM

This is the reason I shout down all of the political pundits who use "don't drink the Kool-Ade" as their main response to ideas that do not agree with their own. This was a tragedy. To diminish its memory by using it in such a shallow manner is simply inhuman.

Flag Reply +19 rate up
5 replies
petehanse August 07 2014 at 3:56 PM

Unbelievable how the "Sheeple" are led to slaughter!
Believe in yourself and your family, and NEVER surrender yourself or your family to a religious zealot!

Flag Reply +13 rate up
5 replies
coopdabomb August 07 2014 at 5:20 PM

This reminds me of whats going on right now with the obamanites

Flag Reply +11 rate up
6 replies
Lenny August 07 2014 at 4:55 PM

The people that compare this to Obama are sick and racist.

Flag Reply +11 rate up
10 replies
impexlink August 07 2014 at 4:07 PM

It is amazing how people can be so blind with stupidity to be lead by someone so idiotic. But a fool is born every minute and there are many out there. Just watch it something might shock all of us sooner or later. People never learn from the past and that is why these things are repeating over and over and people never learn

Flag Reply +9 rate up
5 replies
ElectricXebra5 August 07 2014 at 5:32 PM

This is the end result you get from all religions

Flag Reply +7 rate up
3 replies
oujoou August 07 2014 at 3:43 PM

I was a kid when Jonestown happened. I still remember that evening. It's a disturbing thing to see for a child who wasn't ever allowed to drink Kool-Aid. Anyway . . . I guess 'racial harmony' died with Jonestown. They had a taste of it . . . and it was poison. :( You have to have a higher 'purpose' for races to get along. Or you can just be a good person . . . but that's rare. :(

Flag Reply +6 rate up
elmobee August 07 2014 at 3:33 PM

what a waste of humanity Couldn't anyone imagine what he was doing to these people?

Flag Reply +6 rate up
8 replies
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