Plastic bag filled with ashes blown away by Hurricane Michael found nearly four months later


MEXICO BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) –Thousands of items have been lost after the strong winds of Hurricane Michael ripped apart homes and businesses. The Mexico Beach Police Department is working hand in hand with clean up crews to try and salvage personal items. Nearly four months after the storm, Lorie Spann-Smith received a call she didn’t see coming.

“I never thought in a million years we’d get the phone call we got last week,” said Smith. 

The person on the other line told her that her grandfather’s remains were found more than a mile from his home. Her grandparents built their house in 1988 and now all that’s left is its foundation.

Smith thought everything inside the home was a total loss including her grandfather’s ashes.

“I knew that they were somewhere, I searched all in the woods for anything that was of any significance,” said Smith. 

Over 300 lost items have been dropped off to the Mexico Beach Police Department since the storm.

“I got a phone call Monday afternoon saying there was a bag of crematory remains found and uhh which is very unique, I can honestly say in 34 years in law enforcement I’ve never received a call like that,” said Anthony Kelly, Mexico Beach Police Department.

The ashes were not placed in an urn, instead, they were in a plastic bag. It had a rusty identification tag that police used to trace back to Smith’s family. “It’s just amazing beyond words that the plastic bag that contained him was able to be strung a good distance from this location,” said Chief Kelly. 

Smith’s grandmother passed away the first week of January. She said her grandparents always hoped their ashes would be released into the gulf together…. and now they will be.

“It’s a blessing that they are going to be able to be reunited,” said Smith. “Til death do us park, well obviously Hurricane Michael couldn’t part this couple so they’re back together as they should be,” said Chief Kelly. 

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