The Mystery of the Unclaimed Urn

A mystery in Maryland after an urn - complete with cremated ashes - ended up in a thrift shop.

CHARLES COUNTY, MD - In Charles County, the Bel Alton Thrift Shop gets most of its goods from abandoned or repossessed storage units.

In March, Martha Reingruber was here with a friend who noticed a gold box on one of the shelves. It had apparently been there for several months.

The owner said they could have it – and once they realized what was inside, they were stunned.

“We had no idea. 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,” Reingruber said.

Reingruber says she knows people can fall on hard times and lose their belongings, but it’s so sad that someone’s remains would end up in a store.

While looking at the box with her son, they noticed a metal tag that reads “Chesapeake Crematory,” along with an ID number.

That business is located in Beltsville, Maryland and was able to provide her with a name.

So, here’s what we know:

Michael T. Boone was 61-years-old and died in July of 2014.

He was cremated the following month in Washington D.C.

So, who was Michael Boone? Where did he live? Who did he leave behind.

Reingruber, who recently lost her husband, is hoping someone with the answers to those questions sees this story.

“I searched for hours on the internet looking at obituaries, spelling his name different ways. I then reached out on Facebook, had friends share it, but I still haven’t had any luck,” Reingruber said. “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.”

The only other clue: this thrift shop gets its goods from storage units in Charles County, Prince George’s County and northern Virginia.

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