By Linda Looney-Bond
The Riverdale Police Department has an unusual case on its hands.
It has an urn apparently filled with the cremated remains of someone, but they don't know who.
Lt. Linda Lash hopes to determine who is the rightful owner of what appears to be an urn, filled with ashes. "A lady, who is a manager at the America's Thrift Store here in Riverdale, came to the department a couple of weeks ago and said someone left a family urn, with a whole bunch of property outside the store," said Lash. "And she said there are ashes in it, so someone's loved one may be inside that urn," Lash said.
The urn is sealed on both ends. However, as Lash moved the container from the evidence room to an office for viewing on Tuesday, a white, ashy substance could be seen seeping out of the bottom of the container.
Although police cannot say for certain that the urn is filled with human remains, Lash said police hope they can to locate the owner, because the urn may have been left at the store inadvertently.
"We're not sure if someone left it on purpose, or if someone was evicted, and it was placed there," said Lash.
"I'm trying to find the rightful owner of it. If it was taken, indeed, through eviction, it's bad enough to be evicted, but to have a keepsake like this taken - I'm just very saddened that someone is probably looking for it," she said.
The urn is being kept under lock and key in the police department's evidence room. The blue base of the urn is about the size of a bowling ball. It is topped with two figurines that appear to be dancing.
"It was donated to us at our donation site here at the store," said Fran Koehler, manager of America's Thrift Store, located at 7055-C, Ga. Highway 85, in Riverdale. Koehler said they're not sure who donated the vessel, because often times several donations come in at one time, and the items are sorted later.
"It's a shock. It's definitely a surprise," said Koehler. "I would hope no member of a family would donate someone's remains. Hopefully, it was donated by mistake," she said.
"We did try to locate the family. There was some information on the bottom [of the urn]. When we did not succeed, we took it to the police, hoping they could find the family," said Koehler. "I just want to see the right thing happen with it," she said.
The plate on the bottom of the urn has what appears to be a copyright date of 1996, and reads "The Canneto Collection." The plate also reads "Dance of Life."
"There is a company in Ohio that manufactures these urns, and I looked online, and saw the name of the company, and here's that same urn, it's like $4,000 dollars for this urn," said Lash.
The urnsbycanneto.com website had the "Dance of Life" urn priced at $3,895. Lash said she contacted the manufacturer in an effort to track down the owner of the urn, but was not successful. "I look at it as if it were my parents [in the urn]. If something like that happened to me, I would hope someone would do the same for me," said Lash.
Jeff Tatum, a funeral apprentice with Pope Dickson Funeral Home in Jonesboro, said sometimes identification is placed inside of the urn with the ashes. He said a possible way of determining the remains, since the urn is sealed, is to crack it open, but "that's not a guarantee," he added.
Lash said she hopes anyone who may know the whereabouts of the owner of the urn will contact her, directly, at the Riverdale Police Department at (770) 909-5433.