Highland Park mystery: Woman's cremated remains found (UPDATED)

- A mystery in Highland Park, involving what appears to be someone's cremated remains. A box was found sitting on the ground in front of a church, but no one knows how it got there.

That is the big question tonight, who is Carolyn Hailey and how did her ashes end up on the steps of a Highland Park church?

"They were found right here, next to the steps," said Karen Garrette

Karen Garrette and her sister were walking into Wednesday's prayer service at the Holly Grove Missionary Baptist Church on Riopelle in Highland Park when they noticed a metal box sitting on the steps.

A closer look revealed that something chilling - someone's cremated remains, she said.

"We were a little amused," she said. "We didn't know how they got here but after that we felt a little pitiful in a way."

The label says the ashes belong to Carolyn Hailey, who was cremated on June 30, 2010 at the Spellman Mortuary in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Pastor Garland Hall, who says his church's priority is serving the community, is determined to find the woman's family.

"I said I would do what I could to find out where it belongs, where she belongs and try to get it to whoever it is," Hall said. "So they can have a rightful resting place."

FOX 2 was able to contact the Minnesota mortuary right away and it didn't take long for the director to provide us with a list of four people related to Carolyn Hailey.

There is a daughter, there was even a sister who lived in Detroit but unfortunately our phone calls were unsuccessful.

All of the numbers no longer worked except a relative who lives in Minnesota. We left a message and are hoping to hear back.

Why the ashes were dropped here is still unclear.

"Maybe it was at someone's house and they came across it," Hall said.  "They wanted to throw it away and they had enough human in them to say I don't want to throw it away and leave it at the church."

Members of Holly Grove Missionary believe they have been given a new responsibility and hope eventually provide Carolyn Hailey's final resting place.

"I would want my family member returned," Garrette said. "They may not even know it is missing."

FOX 2 is hoping to hear back from the family member which a message was left for. If you have any information, please contact the Holly Grove Missionary Baptist Church at 313-499-8226.

UPDATE: The sister of Carolyn Hailey contacted FOX 2 to claim her remains which were apparently left in a storage unit that was broken into - unbeknownst to her.
 


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