A woman made a surprising discovery at a Maryland thrift store and knew she had to solve the mystery.
While shopping at the Bel Alton Thrift Shop in Charles County, Maryland, in March, Martha Reingruber and a friend spotted a gold box on one shelf. Employees say the box had been on the self for several months. The owner told the women that they could have the box. When they realized what was inside, they were shocked.
According to KIDY, inside the gold box was a bag containing somebody’s ashes.
“We had no idea,” Reingruber said. “It’s just a plain cube with no writing. We thought it was a decoration or a treasure box. We were trying to open it with our fingers. He was like, ‘I’m going to get it open’ and decided to get a screwdriver and pry it open. He was definitely taken aback.”
Attached to the bag containing the ashes is a tag that reads, “Chesapeake Crematory Beltsville MD 00095.”
Reingruber says that she knows that sometimes people fall on hard times, but that she thought it was so sad that somebody’s remains wound up in a thrift store. She made it her mission to locate who the remains belong to.
Chesapeake Crematory is still located in Beltsville, Maryland, and was able to provide Martha with a name using the ID number on the tag.
The ashes are the remains of Michael T. Boone, who died in July 2014 at the age of 61. He was cremated the following month.
Reingruber says that she wanted to find out more about Michael in order to locate his family.
“I searched for hours on the internet looking at obituaries, spelling his name different ways,” she said. “I then reached out on Facebook, had friends share it, but I still haven’t had any luck. I recently became a widow in February, so I know I would want my family, someone to do the right thing… I’d really like to find his family so he can rest in peace.”
Reingruber reached out to WTTG, who assisted with spreading the story in order to help find Boone’s family. A relative of Boone’s daughter saw the news outlet’s report and called her immediately.
Boone’s daughter called WTTG shortly after she was contacted by her relative and said that she was shocked when she saw the report. She says that she recently lost her job and her home. The storage unit in which she held her father’s ashes and other belongings was repossessed.
Boone’s daughter, who wishes to remain unidentified, and Reingruber met at the Branch Avenue Metro station. Boone’s daughter wore a necklace containing some of her father’s ashes, while Reingruber delivered to her the gold box containing the rest of his ashes.
Sources: KIDY, WTTG / Photo Credit: Tiffany Denault/Peterson.af.mil