Contractors cleaning out a foreclosed house in Dayton, Ohio, found the cremated remains of 56 people in one of the closets.
The ashes were in black plastic urns, labeled with the names of the decedents. The remains were crammed inside a closet along with several boxes of paperwork, all connected to a controversial funeral home.
“It was one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen, but I’m not exactly surprised, given this funeral home’s history,” Dayton police Lt. Wendy Stiver said.
The home was previously owned by the owner of the now-closed funeral home. The McLin Funeral Home’s license was revoked earlier this year after an investigation concluded that the business alleged violated state laws, including possibly burying someone in the wrong grave, ABC affiliate WKEF-TV reported.
The coroner’s office is working to contact the next of kin of all 56 decedents, at which point they may choose to press charges, although it’s still unclear who is responsible for improperly storing the remains, Stiver said.
“It’s disheartening, obviously, but as of right now, there are no criminal charges,” Stiver said.
The remains date back decades, the earliest from 1982, and the rest are from the 1990s and 2000s, the Dayton Daily News reported.
It’s unclear how the remains ended up in the closet, whether they were abandoned or withheld from the next of kind. Investigators hope the next of kin will be able to clear up exactly what happened, adding that all the remains will have proper burials.