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Car repossessed in Oregon yields surprising find: cremains of a Modesto man and woman

What does a coroner do? What is an autopsy?

A coroner investigates deaths of persons dying from criminal violence, accidents, suicide, sudden unexpected deaths (without an attending physician), any suspicious or unusual circumstances, or when the decedent is unidentified. Here's a look.
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A coroner investigates deaths of persons dying from criminal violence, accidents, suicide, sudden unexpected deaths (without an attending physician), any suspicious or unusual circumstances, or when the decedent is unidentified. Here's a look.

The Stanislaus Country Coroner’s Office is looking for the family of two Modesto people who died several years ago, after their cremains showed up in Oregon in a vehicle that was repossessed by Carmax.

Attached to the urn containing the cremains was a burial permit indicating they were supposed to be interred at a cemetery in Santa Clara.

Carmax contacted the Modesto funeral home that handled cremation of 74-year-old Robert Lee Jimenez and 70-year-old Camela Margaret Jimenez. The funeral home directed Carmax to the coroner’s office, said sheriff’s Detective Frank Leyva.

The cremains were shipped back to Stanislaus County in what Leyva estimates is a $600 urn.

Leyva tried contacting the person who bought the repossessed vehicle, but all the numbers he could find had been disconnected. That person was from the south, and there was no apparent connection to the Jimenezes or Modesto.

Now Leyva is asking for the public’s help locating family members.

The coroner’s office is also looking for the families of people who died more recently.

Steven Schilthuis was in his 60s when he died March 30. Patricia Evans, 63, died on March 19. Billy Maxwell was 59.

Authorities ask family members of any of the deceased, or anyone who has information about where family might be located, to call the Stanislaus County Coroner’s Office at 209-567-4480.

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