WINCHESTER, Va. - A four-star hotel isn't usually the scene of a police investigation. But on Monday, Winchester Police were called to the Wingate Hotel after cremated remains were found wrapped in fabric, in an unmarked box, sitting outside next to a dumpster.
In a statement to WHAG, the Wingate Hotel said, "The remains were discovered by a gentleman employed on the Maintenance staff. He found the remains by the dumpster. We found it sad that someone could be disposed of in this manner."
However, Winchester Police say it's still unclear if the remains are human or animal.
"It’s the first time in my career that I’ve actually been called to pick up an item - an urn, with ashes in it,” said
Police say the box is approximately 10.5", by six inches, by six inches.
Experts say, that based on the description of the urn that was found outside the Wingate Hotel, that wooden box is at least 33 percent larger than average.
"That’s a very large box in the cremation industry. You figure it's about 350 cubic inches inside, probably, or more. The average cremator remains is 200 cubic inches," said Larry Omps, President of Omps Funeral Home and
Based on the description of the ashes, experts also believe that the remains are either one of two things: they're at least eight years old, or they were recently processed as a facility that does not have modern cremating technology.
"Most crematories in days gone by, and they still use them today, are a stainless steal tag. The first thing I would do if I were in charge of it, I would sift through it, and see if it's in there. That tag would probably have the name of the crematory, and also a number on it,” Omps said.
But for now, Winchester Police are hoping someone will come claim their loved one, whether it be an animal or relative.
“They need to be able to describe the box, or the canister that it was in, and also [provide] the documentation from the morgue of where the cremation took place,” said Cave.
The remains are currently being held by the Winchester Police Department. Anyone with information about the box or its contents is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (540)-665-5770, extension 431.