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Box Bought at Thrift Shop Contains Ashes

August 26, 2003

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ Rocky Oldaker bought a wood box for $2 at a thrift store because it looked interesting.

When he opened it, what he found inside was priceless to Linda Bigford: her mother’s ashes.

``I don’t think that is what someone’s life should boil down to ... $2 at a thrift store,″ said Oldaker, who bought the box along with a stuffed animal and a picture frame.

When he unscrewed the box bottom at home, Oldaker discovered a plastic bag of ashes and a note identifying them as those of June Peltier of Marion, Mich.

Peltier, 77, died of natural causes Nov. 15, 1999, said Bigford.

``I’m just so embarrassed,″ said Bigford, 56. ``I can’t believe my sister would let this happen.″

Bigford said her sister, Melody Parker, was responsible for the ashes but the sisters haven’t spoken since Parker moved to central Ohio in November. A home telephone listing could not be found for Parker.

``I know my sister wouldn’t knowingly get rid of it,″ Bigford said. ``She had to mistake it for something else.″

Employees at the Village Discount Outlet said they don’t know how the box arrived there. A manager said employees wouldn’t normally open a box that was screwed shut.

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