Mystery urn containing ashes left at Alton cemetery

ALTON — Police are reaching out to the general public for help in identifying a urn holding what appears to be human ashes that was left in one of the local cemeteries.

Chief Ryan Heath said workers in a small, town-owned cemetery just off Route 11 near the Gilford line found the square copper urn on August 16. He said a bag in the urn looks like one that would be used by a crematory but police don't want to disturb the contents and area funeral home owners are equally stumped.

"We've been trying to identify who it belongs to but we've go no idea," Heath said yesterday afternoon.

He said it's rare to find discarded ashes but said it usually happens after a house is burglarized and the thieves discover what they've stolen and feel bad about it.

"They'll abandon the urn somewhere and we'll quietly return it to the victims," he said.

Heath said this summer Alton has had relatively few burglaries and none of those victims reported the loss of an urn.

He said he has spoken to other police chiefs in the Alton area and none of them have this listed on their records of items reported stolen. Police have also reach out to local funeral homes, again with no results.

He also said police almost never release this kind of information to the media because it is so sensitive, but it this case it may be their only hope of discovering who owns the remains.

Anyone with any information is asked to call the Alton Police at 875-0575.

CUTLINE (photo in news email) Alton Police are looking for the owner of this 5" by 6" by 7" cemetery urn found abandoned in a small public cemetery on Route 11 near the Gilford line.