A Sacramento area woman who found a man’s cremated remains on the side of the road made it her mission to return them to the family. Ana Riddle left the Arden Fair Mall, then saw some objects on the side of the road, among which were a box with a note on it and a book of pictures.
Riddle said, “I saw the note. It was cremated remains and I thought ‘No way.'” She added, “It’s not just a box on the street. Now I’ve got a mission, I’ve got to find a loved one. I also found a book of pictures. It’s got all sorts of family events; seems like good times,” according to CBS 13 Sacramento.
“Walter Frank Johnson, Jr.,” had been written on the box, as well as “Healey Mortuary.” Riddle, looking at the pictures, was befuddled as to who the people were and how they were related to the remains. CBS13 called the Healey Mortuary, in Salinas, whose owner acknowledged that having a stolen or lost box returned had happened before. He said that efforts to return the boxes to family members sometimes paid off, sometimes not. The mortuary has been in business since 1956.
But Riddle was not to be deterred, telling CBS 13: “I just hate the fact that these may have been thrown away by mistake and the family may be looking for them. I even thought if nobody claims these ashes I’ll go somewhere nice and peaceful the river or the mountains and say a prayer for him.”
CBS 13 eventually found Johnsons’ mother, who said he had indeed been cremated in Salinas, where her daughter lives, but also said she and her daughter have no contact with each other. She said she had no idea how her son’s ashes were lost, but was happy to get them back.