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Cremation ashes set off anthrax scare

ROME, July 16 (UPI) -- A mailed powder that set off an anthrax scare at the U.S. embassy in Rome turned out to be the ashes of the Texas sender's wife.

The envelope of ashes, which arrived at the embassy July 8, just before President Barack Obama got to Rome for the Group of Eight summit, prompted an evacuation of the building while authorities sealed off the mail room and removed the powder for analysis, the Daily Mail reported Thursday.

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Lab analysis determined the powder was ashes from a cremation. A letter found in the envelope explained the ashes belonged to the sender's late wife and asked embassy employees to scatter the ashes in the city, as the Texas couple had spent a "very nice holiday there once many years ago."

The man's letter said similar packages were mailed to the U.S. embassies in London, Paris and Istanbul.

FBI investigators visited the home of the man, whose name was not released, and determined his story was true.

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