CENTRALIA, Wash. - After cremated remains of three people were found at a Centralia recycling center and later identified, KIRO 7 Eyewitness News helped locate relatives of the deceased.
Last October, Jason Blankenship told his cousin to put down a birdbath he was about to crush at their recycling facility.
The top had broken off and revealed a hollow tube. Inside the tube was a bag of cremated human remains.
KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Richard Thompson spoke with Blankenship about what he discovered.
“I’m like, ‘Oh my God, Eric. You almost bailed a dead person,’” said Blankenship. “Then it dawns on me that it’s a dead body in a bag. Somebody threw away their parents, their grandparents.”
As Blankenship looked in the tube, he realized there was not one but three sets of cremated remains.
“Recycling one person is bad enough, but recycling three?” said Blankenship.
A Lewis County coroner later identified the remains as Emmett Nesteby, who died in 2000, his wife Marjorie Boyer, who died in 2004, and their son Wayne Nesteby, who died in 1977.
The Lewis County Coroner’s Office could not find the relatives of the deceased and wanted the public’s help.
KIRO 7 tracked down and found Emmett Nesteby’s nephew in Eastern Washington and he was shocked the remains of his aunt, uncle and cousin were tossed away.
“I’m terribly sorry to hear what happened. How they wound up in a recycling plant. I have no idea, it just breaks my heart,” said Cliff Nesteby.
Cliff Nesteby told KIRO 7 his relatives did not live in Lewis County, and is now determined to get his family’s remains back as soon as possible to give them the care and respect they deserve.