Jonestown Victims Found in Old Funeral Home
Officials identify 9 from 1978 massacre
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2014 2:51 PM CDT
The site of the former Minus Funeral Home in Dover, Del., Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014.    (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(Newser) – Officials have uncovered the remains of nine victims from the terrifying 1978 Jonestown Massacre, which left more than 900 people dead from drinking a punch spiked with cyanide, the News Journal and Daily Mail report. Forensics investigators confirmed the find at a funeral home in Dover, Delaware, among 38 other long-lost containers of cremated human remains. "It was definitely a shock when we found out exactly what we had," said a police spokesman. "Obviously it's an intriguing story and a tragic story, and to think this was found right here in our jurisdiction ... makes it very compelling to us."

Investigators couldn't say why the ashes were unclaimed, but said they were notifying family members about picking them up. Inspired to dig around the building for more remains yesterday, officials found only an arrowhead, charcoal, oyster shells, and two animal bones. The massacre's history didn't help much either: At the time, all 913 victims were taken to a mortuary at Dover Air Force Base and readied for burial, but at least initially, Delaware wouldn't let them be cremated. The victims were leaders or followers of the Peoples Temple religious cult in Guyana, and died in what the Daily Mail calls "the single largest loss of American civilian life" before 9/11.

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Showing 3 of 18 comments
Boz O'Clown
Aug 8, 2014 8:50 AM CDT
"the single largest loss of American civilian life before 9/11" So that makes Jim Jones the greatest mass murderer of Americans before Cheney.
JoeQ
Aug 8, 2014 12:27 AM CDT
UnkieStu
Aug 7, 2014 10:02 PM CDT
Jimmy Hoffa was cremated by the Mafia in a Las Vegas funeral home, as per what's his name's book. Why would the Mafia throw a guy in a lake, river, building foundation, etc., when they all owned legitimate businesses. Even Al Capone carried a business card saying he sold "Used Furniture" in his pocket (the card was in his pocket, not the furniture, id'get!).