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Police: Ashes found at closed funeral home include Jonestown victims

Investigators believe the closed Delaware funeral home where ashes of victims of the Jonestown Massacre were found had a contract with Dover Air Force Base.
By Frances Burns   |   Aug. 7, 2014 at 3:13 PM  |  Updated Aug. 7, 2014 at 4:16 PM   |   Comments

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DOVER, Del., Aug. 7 (UPI) -- The ashes of nine victims of the 1978 Jonestown Massacre were found with other cremated remains in a closed funeral home, police in Delaware said.

An employee of a bank that bought the former Minus Funeral Home in Dover after it closed in 2012 found 38 containers of ashes, police said Thursday. Most were clearly identified.

More than 900 people died on Nov. 18, 1978, when the Rev. Jim Jones, who had moved his People's Temple from San Francisco to Guyana, ordered his followers to drink Koolaid spiked with cyanide. The mass suicide followed the killing of U.S. Rep. Leo Ryan, D-Calif., who had come to Guyana to investigate alleged abuses at Jonestown, and four other people.

Dover Police Cpl. Mark Hoffman, a department spokesman, said investigators believe the Minus Funeral Home had a contract with Dover Air Force Base to handle unclaimed remains. The base is the main point of entry for the return of military casualties and other bodies being handled by the government.

The ashes are now in the custody of the state Division of Forensic Science.

Police also found veterans' grave markers at the funeral home. They have been handed over to the families or the VA, Hoffman said.

Hoffman said police have found no reason for criminal charges yet.

Topics: Leo Ryan
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