New Hampshire Woman Believes Purchased Thrift-Store Locket Contains Human Ashes

Discovery sends woman and store worker on search for locket's original owner.

ByABC News
July 14, 2015, 1:03 PM
Kathleen Driscoll said she found what she believes are human ashes inside a locket she bought at a thrift store.
Kathleen Driscoll said she found what she believes are human ashes inside a locket she bought at a thrift store.
Kathleen Driscoll

— -- Kathleen Driscoll was so struck after finding a small vial that contains what she believes to be the ashes of a stranger's loved one inside a locket that she purchased for $3.75 from a Vermont thrift shop three weeks ago that she and an employee at the store have launched a campaign to find its proper owner.

"I just felt awful," Driscoll of Sunapee, New Hampshire, told ABC News. "My father's ashes were lost, as well, and I know that feeling."

Driscoll said she had been shopping a jewelry sale with her daughter at Listen Thrift Store in White River Junction, Vermont, when she came across the locket that read "Always in my Heart."

She said she was attracted to the piece only because of the chain the charm was attached to.

"I thought it was a locket you put a photo in," Driscoll said. "I thought, 'I'll just take the chain off of this.' When I got home, I read the little poem and realized there was an urn inside. Then, I opened the little brass vial and and I said 'Oh, no.'"

Driscoll, who once worked as a veterinary technician, said she is familiar with the appearance of animal remains and is confident the contents of the vial are the ashes of a human.

The note inside the box, titled "In Loving Memory," Driscoll said, heightened her theory. It read, "May the solid brass urn contained in this locket hold the memories of your loved one, keeping them close to your heart and bringing you comfort."

Merilynn Bourne, who has worked at Listen Thrift Store for 20 years, said that Driscoll contacted her in hopes of locating the original owner of the locket.

"She [Driscoll] became very concerned, saying, 'Oh my goodness, this might be an accident,'" Bourne said. "She put it on Facebook and we shared it. We've had four individuals contact us saying it might be their locket.

"This is a strange one," she added. "This has never happened before."

Bourne said since a local news site published a photo of the locket, anyone is now able to describe its appearance.

She added that it's possible people are under the impression that the metal necklace is silver, which is why strangers may be claiming it.

"It was in the original box," Bourne said. "There are markings on the box that I'm asking people to describe.

"The other side of this story is I think it's very telling about human beings when a stranger says, 'If this is someone's remains, I have to give it back,'" she added. "She's [Driscoll] got a good heart and that’s nice to encounter"

Both Bourne and Driscoll said they have plans to meet in person and discuss how they can work together to find the rightful owner of the locket.