Authorities are trying to figure out how urns containing what could be human ashes ended up on the shelf of a thrift store in Connecticut.
Angela Dupree, of Shelton, said she found them by chance while shopping at the Savers store on Route 1 last Thursday.
"I was actually looking for bakery pans for my friend's bakery," she said.
Dupree said she spotted the urns on a shelf in the housewares department. Both containers were sealed and marked with $3.99 price tags.
"I went down the home decor aisle and I noticed two marble – they looked like urns to me," Dupree said. "I tried to even pull the top off, because this can't be what I think it is."
But, she said, it was. One of the urns had a name on it – Bonnie Throp – and the dates 1966-1983.
Dupree brought the urns to store employees and explained what she had found.
"They were totally surprised too," Dupree said. "They had no idea that's what it was."
Store management in turn alerted the Orange Police Department and the local health department.
The urns and their contents are now being held in a secure vault at a nearby cemetery until someone can explain what – or who – might be inside.
"Because we are no longer in possession of the urns, I'm hoping the cemetery can help. I'm sure they will do whatever they can to help find the owner," Savers communications director Sarah Gaugl said, adding that she will "make sure they are handled in a respectful manner."
The urns lack the metal markings that cremation experts say are typically used to identify urns. One expert said families often divide ashes into various containers to be dispersed among family members.
It's not clear how the urns ended up at Savers. A spokesperson for the company said it's possible the urns were mistakenly donated, then listed for sale by someone who didn't realize what they were.
"I'm sure that was not done intentionally," Dupree said. "I'm sure the family wants it back."
So far, NBC Connecticut has not been able to locate death or cremation records for Bonnie Throp from any of the state's 19 certified crematories.
There are no immediate plans to test the contents of the urns, according to the manager of the cemetery where they're being held.
EDITORS NOTE: An earlier version of this story stated the location of the thrift store as Southern California. It is located in Orange, Conn.