The Stanislaus County Coroner’s Office is looking for the families of five men and women, all of whom died two to three decades ago.
Family members of the deceased paid hundreds of dollars for their cremation but never retrieved the remains from an Oakdale funeral home, Detective Tom Killian said.
Most often, “the family is not emotionally ready to take them home or do the final disposition,” said Richard Davy, director of the Oakdale-Riverbank Memorial Chapel.
He gave the cremains of six people to the Coroner’s Office in September. He’d tried periodically throughout the years to reach relatives, until eventually their contact information was no longer valid.
Killian said he hasn’t had much luck since then.
He found a relative for one in the group, the son of a Modesto woman who died in 1996. The son thought his mother’s cremains were at his grandmother’s home, Killian said.
The Coroner’s Office is contacted about once a year, usually by funeral homes, about cremains that have been left behind and long forgotten.
In 2013, the cremains of a woman who died in San Francisco in 1906 arrived at the Coroner’s Office by way of a south Modesto storage unit that had changed ownership.
Following an article in The Bee about the cremains, Killian made contact with the woman’s great-great-grandson, who lives in Ceres. He had her interred at Modesto Citizens Cemetery on Scenic Drive alongside other family members.
Another case involved an urn that had been left on the porch of a funeral home in the middle of the night. Coroner’s detectives discovered the urn contained the cremains of a woman whose husband’s home had been burglarized the night before.
Killian said the cremains from the Oakdale-Riverbank Memorial Chapel are older than most that come from funeral homes, making the search more difficult. If he exhausts all his resources, the deceased will be interred as indigents, placed in a community vault at Ceres Memorial Park.
The office is looking for the families of:
▪ Margaret Jean DuQuensnay of Oakdale, who died in October 1995.
▪ Judy Louadrian Hall of Turlock, who died in September 1990.
▪ Arlene Joyce Linton of Riverbank, who died in February 1989.
▪ David W. Austin of Oakdale, who died in December 1985.
▪ Delbert Brown of Oakdale, who died in November 1991.
Anyone with information can call Killian at (209) 567-4544.