Cremains of loved ones found stashed in former funeral director's abandoned garage
POSTED: Saturday, January 28, 2012 - 10:41am
UPDATED: Saturday, January 28, 2012 - 10:49am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — Jim Bostick was a trusted and prominent community leader who resigned as mayor of Fort Lupton, Colorado and left town in the wake of a scandal more than five years ago.
Now, there's a new scandal brewing.
Families say Bostick lied, took their money and left the ashes of their loved ones in a garage.
Carl J. Erlinger, the current owner of the funeral home once run by Bostick, says the former mayor sold his business in 2006.
Bostick made national headlines when the U.S. government paid for a Marine's funeral, but Bostick refused to return thousands of dollars paid to him by the Marine's family.
Bostick also left the ashes of nine people sitting in the funeral home garage when he left town.
"We did not know if these ashes were supposed to be buried, scattered. We have no files. The previous funeral directors had no files," Erlinger said.
Three families have claimed ashes so far, including one just this week.
Shirley Fisher's family says they paid Bostick to place their mother's ashes in this cemetery.
"It was never done. They have to go through this all over again," Erlinger said.
Erlinger wonders how many others are out there. He says he has no way to contact the families. All he has are six names and the years they died.
"They expected him to carry out their wishes and he just did not do that," Erlinger said.
Bostick now lives in Kentucky, but his phone there is disconnected.
Arlyne Jenkins' sister-in-law, Lorraine Jenkins, died in 2003. She left a dying wish for her family.
"She had it in writing. She wanted to have her ashes spread in Minnesota," Jenkins said.
That wish has remained unfulfilled for nine years. Lorraine was cremated and wanted her ashes to be spread near her mother.
Harry Jenkins says Bostick kept Lorraine's ashes in the garage and also kept the cremation fee.
He took the money and just forgot, you know, walked off with it," Jenkins said.
Arlyne Jenkins says she feels for the families of those with unclaimed ashes.
"The ones that are remaining there, just sitting there. It's pretty sad," Jenkins said.
She's just glad to finally have Lorraine's ashes back so the family can fulfill her last wish.
"We're going to take them to Minnesota and bury them by her mother," Jenkins said.
Because there are no records, there's no way to know what those six families wanted done with those ashes.