AUSTIN (KXAN) — A Texas woman’s savings journey took a mysterious turn when she discovered a used ballot box at a local Goodwill store.
Austin resident Jessa Randall visited a local goodwill on Monday where she found a small vase-like object. Upon further examination, she found a plug at the bottom of the ceramic with a bag of ashes hidden inside.
Store managers confirmed that Goodwill does not track donors’ personal or contact information, and the urn does not have any identifying information etched into its surface.
After losing a close family member last year and going through the cremation process on his behalf, Randall said it hit her close to home. Now she’s looking for answers and closure for the potential family missing that memorial coin.
“I just felt like I couldn’t stop there. It was just sad,” she said. “It had to be in a house.”
Randall and her husband nicknamed the urn “Jackie,” so as to convey a sense of respect and integrity to its occupant, she said. Currently, the two have not identified any leads on who may be missing the ballot box.
Although the ceramic has no identifying markers pointing to its occupant, Austin police officials said Nexstar’s KXAN cremated remains could be tested for DNA samples. During the cremation process, bones and teeth remain and, once extracted and analyzed, can potentially be matched with a DNA strain. However, the amount of ash remaining and the level of heat used during the process can affect DNA analysis.
This is the first reported urn found at a central Texas location, officials said.
“It is common for families cleaning homes during major life events, such as a death in the family or moving across the country, to donate in bulk, and an unusual item could easily get mixed up. Normally it’s the fun of shopping at Goodwill – you never know when you’re going to stumble upon a cool vintage piece or an old family heirloom,” said Angela McKendree Marshall, vice president of marketing and communications for Goodwill. Central Texas. “However, this is the first time that I am aware of a reported case of urn donation.”
Elsewhere in Texas, it’s not as rare. At Goodwill North Central Texas in the Fort Worth area, urns, empty caskets and even a live pomegranate were all donated.
For now though, Randall said her goal is to provide the urn with a home until she can be reunited with her loved ones.
“I can’t imagine looking for a family member,” she said. ” I do not know this person. It’s not really a person anymore – but it was. I don’t think anyone deserves to live on a shelf and not be at peace. »
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