Mysterious urn drifts to shore in North Miami Beach

 
 
This box contains ashes founded in the Intracoastal Waterway.
This box contains ashes founded in the Intracoastal Waterway.
Courtesy of Geronimo Mena Jr.

fpeinado@miamiherald.com

The ashes of someone’s loved one found floating in the Intracoastal Waterway are now in a Hollywood crematorium, waiting to be claimed.

The ashes were found inside a brass urn in the Intracoastal a week ago and later turned in to Geronimo Mena Jr. of Guiding Light Cremations in Hollywood.

Mena said he thinks someone attempted a burial at sea, but the urn did not sink because it was full of air, floating to the surface near the 163rd Street Bridge.

Someone on a waverunner found the urn last week.

“I am sure the family did that with the best of intentions but their plan backfired,” said Mena, who did not handle the original cremation, but got involved as a goodwill gesture after hearing about it. He is certain the ashes are human remains because of the color, texture and presence of bone particles.

Locating relatives would be easy if the urn had a name on it, Mena said. Instead, the ashes inside the urn had a string tied around a plastic bag, not the customary metal tag identifying the person and the crematorium.

In his two decades of incinerating the dead, this is the second time that Mena said he has been in charge of someone’s lost and found ashes.

“Ten years ago, police handed me an urn that had been forgotten in the trunk of a rental car,” he said.

The ashes were properly tagged and Mena was able to contact the driver, who happened to be the wife of the deceased.

“The woman thanked me and could take the urn back home.”

In this case, if nobody claims the remains after 120 days, Mena said he will scatter them himself, as required by law.

It is forbidden to scatter cremated ashes in the Intracoastal.

Burial at sea of human remains should take place at least three nautical miles from land, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Read more Miami-Dade stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category