Contractors were in for a big—and not pleasant—surprise while cleaning out a foreclosed home in Dayton, Ohio, Tuesday: Stuffed into one of the closets were the cremated remains of 56 people, dating as far back as 1982. It appears the remains, all of which were contained in black urns labeled with names and dates, are connected to the McLin Funeral Home. The owner of the funeral home also owned the house, but the funeral home closed after its license was revoked for alleged law violations—including the possibility that a body was buried in the wrong grave. The owner also was accused of holding remains for ransom, the Dayton Daily News reports.
The situation is "one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen, but I’m not exactly surprised, given this funeral home’s history," says a police lieutenant. The coroner's office is contacting the next of kin, and investigators hope family members may be able to shed some light on what happened. "These remains were mishandled, and the families were possibly charged to dispose of the remains in another way," a police officer tells ABC News. "So there could be a serious theft or fraud issue here as well."