Burglars steal, snort cremated ashes

Police said they will search Thursday for what is left of the cremated remains of a man and two dogs that robbers stole from a Florida house and then snorted after mistakenly thinking it was cocaine.

Members of the Marion County sheriff’s department dive team say they will search a lake in the area where they think the remainder of the ashes may have been dumped.

Are they going to run the water through a filter?

The robbery occurred in December in a home in the central Florida area of Silver Springs, the sheriff department said in a statement. A robbery crew ransacked the home taking electronics, jewelry and the cremated ashes of the homeowner’s father and two Great Danes.

“During the investigation, detectives learned that the ashes were taken because the suspects mistook the ashes for either cocaine or heroin. It was soon discovered that the suspects snorted some of the ashes believing they were snorting cocaine,” a sheriff’s department statement said.

Three teens and two juveniles were arrested in the case.

For a grand total of five idiots.

Supreme Court turns away 9/11 ashes burial case

Relatives of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks have lost a bid to get the Supreme Court to rule on whether New York City must provide a proper burial for material taken from the World Trade Center site, because it could contain the ashes of victims.

The justices declined on Monday to hear an appeal of a lower court’s ruling in a suit brought by relatives of some of the people killed when the twin towers collapsed. Lower courts dismissed the suit against the city, saying it acted responsibly in moving materials from the site in Lower Manhattan to a landfill on Staten Island and then sifting through the material for human remains.

The plaintiffs wanted the ashes buried in a cemetery after they were sifted again. None of the remains of roughly 1,100 of the people who were killed in the attacks have been found.

I realize the cumulative loss is enormous. Americans should also look around at the world and the miserable history of our species killing large numbers of each other.

The people of London, the people of Dresden, the myriad victims of the Holocaust, so many others never felt compelled to demand the ashes from tragedy and fire should be specially interred – including all the rites of the several religions of those who died.

I am not surprised that Americans feel themselves more special than all those others. Still doesn’t justify the demand.

Where do you want your ashes to go?

Want to be cremated, but worry that your ashes will just end up sitting in some boring urn?

Fear not! Have a look at these 10 bizarre places that ashes have gone.

1. Into a comic book

When longtime Marvel Comics editor Mark Gruenwald died in 1996, he left an interesting final wish: he wanted to have his ashes mixed into the ink used in one of Marvel’s titles. The company obliged by reprinting a 1985 collection of the Gruenwald-penned Squadron Supreme with the specially prepared ink in 1997. Gruenwald’s widow, Catherine, wrote in the book’s foreword, “He has truly become one with the story.”

2. Into fireworks

Writer Hunter S. Thompson literally went out with a bang. Thompson’s appropriately gonzo 2005 memorial service featured a fireworks show in which each boom and crack dispersed some of the writer’s ashes. Johnny Depp underwrote the fireworks display at a cost of $2 million.

3. Into a Pringles can

The name Fredric Baur may not ring any bells, but you know his most famous creation. In 1966 Baur invented the Pringles can so Procter & Gamble could ship its new chips without using bags.

Baur was so proud of the achievement that he told his children he wanted to be buried in the iconic can. When he died in 2008 at 89, they honored his wishes by placing his ashes in a Pringles can before burying them…

It’s a great list. Though I probably wouldn’t consider this last one:

10. Up Keith Richards’ nose?

In 2007 music mag NME asked Rolling Stones guitarist to name the strangest thing he’d ever snorted. The reporter was probably expecting an odd answer given Richards’ legendary proclivity for partying, but Richards’ response was a jaw-dropper.

Richards told the magazine, “The strangest thing I’ve tried to snort? My father. I snorted my father. He was cremated and I couldn’t resist grinding him up with a little bit of blow.”


Arrest made in gruesome body-parts fraud

Albuquerque Police are trying to find out if an Albuquerque company that handles bodies donated for medical research tried to dump body parts in Kansas City.

BioCare’s owner, Paul Montaño, was arrested Wednesday night on three fraud charges…

Questions arose about Montano’s business after several body parts showed up in Kansas City, Kansas.

First a head and torso showed up at a facility called Stericycle, a company that incinerates medical waste, but not body parts. Then police stopped a shipment to the plant last week, containing 30 drums full of body parts. Six heads were in the shipment. The labels on the drums were from BioCare in Albuquerque…

Fraud charges would be filed if authorities believe the company lied to the families of people that donated their bodies to BioCare, according to police.

“The person, my loved one, that BioCare gave me in my urn, is that my loved one or not? Or did you give me someone else,” Police spokeswoman Nadine Hamby said.

The Kansas City coroner worries about that as well. He identified an arm Tuesday because it still had a tag on it with the name of an Albuquerque funeral home. The funeral home told the coroner it thought it cremated the man’s body after BioCare returned his remains in a box in September. The funeral home then gave the ashes back to the family.

The coroner in Kansas said Wednesday that the six heads are in good condition and he should be able to identify them through photos. Records from BioCare may speed the process along.

Montaño’s hustle was simple enough. He advertised free cremation if people donated bodies to scientific research.

He was paid for the research and in turn was supposed to have the remains cremated locally and ashes returned to the family.

At this point in time, it looks like he was just adding whatever was left from research to containers of medical waste shipped to Stericycle – and giving folks ashes from someone or something else.

Japan strikes gold from cremated ashes. And silver. And palladium.

Japanese cities are profiting from the sale of precious metals sifted from cremated ashes…as the country attempts to cash in on a potentially huge “urban mine” of gold, silver and palladium. Several cities, including Tokyo, have earned millions of yen from the sale of rare elements found in capped teeth and artificial bones.

The precious metals are being retrieved from ashes and bone fragments left behind after the family of the deceased have completed the ritual of packing some of the bones into an urn for burial.

While the practice has ugly historical precedents – the Nazis routinely searched for gold in the ashes of murdered concentration camp prisoners – the Japanese authorities have the law on their side.

In 1939, the supreme court ruled that any leftover ashes not taken away by bereaved relatives belonged to the municipality; any income they generate is considered part of the city’s miscellaneous income…

“There’s nothing illegal about it, so it’s not something we can condemn outright,” said Yuji Moriyama, of the Japan Society of Environmental Crematory. “But personally, I think it’s wrong. We’re talking about human beings, not mobile phones.

Frankly, I don’t worry more about recycling human beings and their artifacts than any other useful commodity.

Abandoned ashes piling up at funeral homes

The abandoned ashes are stacked floor to ceiling in the basement of the Graham, Putnam and Mahoney Funeral Parlors, tucked neatly on wooden shelves and tables and in an unused dumbwaiter.

Someone loved the people once, enough to have their bodies cremated, and then promptly forgot or decided they didn’t want them. “The fact is, if no one claims them, there’s nothing you can do with them,” said funeral director Peter Stefan of Worcester. “You can’t throw them away. They could be Uncle Freddy’s ashes. They could come and sue you.”

Storage or disposal of abandoned ashes is a growing national problem as the number of cremations is on the rise. Even in states that allow the burial or scattering of abandoned ashes, some funeral homes store them for years, hoping one day to place them in the hands of a relative.

Funeral directors worry that the regulations don’t carry the protections of a law, so they have been holding on to the ashes, just in case.

Although some of the forgotten ashes in the basement of his funeral home date to the 1890s, some are more recent, Stefan said.
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