Police still looking for answers after finding mysterious cremated remains more than four years ago
By Fox 8
ALLIANCE, Ohio-- A mystery is unfolding in Alliance, where police are still looking for the owner of cremated remains found near a mall more than four years ago.
Carnation Mall's groundskeeper at the time, Michael Magrath, reported to police in March of 2011 that he was on morning rounds when he discovered a box sitting in the middle of a mall access road. Inside, he said he found broken china dishes, and a glass jar containing what appeared to be remains.
"It was one of the more unusual finds," Magrath said. "I'm not a mortician, and I'm not a forensic specialist, but it looked like cremated remains to me."
Alliance police said an officer took the mystery jar to a local funeral home, and the funeral home director determined the ashes were cremated remains. It was unclear if they were those of a human or a pet, according to police.
The cremains have remained on an Alliance police property room shelf ever since, and as officers work to clear old evidence, the department turned to Facebook Monday to seek new tips to find the owner.
"18 years, I've been with Alliance; I've never come across it," Sergeant Michael Yarian said of the bizarre discovery. "Maybe it means something to them, and hopefully we can get them back to the owner."
Just how the ashes ended up at the mall is a mystery, but based on where the box was found and how it appeared to land in the roadway, Magrath said he suspects it fell from a vehicle people were using to move.
"At this point in time, I think it's kind of humorous," Magrath said. "It's probably pretty traumatic for somebody, and I apologize to them for making light of this at this point, but I just couldn't imagine getting to a destination and the wife goes, 'Where's Uncle Larry?' 'Well he was in the box with the dishes.' 'Well, where's the box with the dishes?' 'I don't know.'"
Wherever the owner is, Magrath said it's unlikely he or she wanted a loved one to end up on a police property room shelf.
"There're not too many relatives that have such an adventure after they're gone," he said.
Anyone who may have lost remains in the Alliance area is asked to contact the Alliance police property room at 330-821-9140.