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Police Seeking Owner of Urns

Albuquerque Journal (New Mexico)
BYLINE: T.J. Wilham Journal Staff Writer

Albuquerque, NM

For six months, police have been trying to track down the owner of three urns and the remains they contain. Now they are hoping the public can help. Police believe they know who owns two of the urns, but the third is a bit of a mystery.

The urns' odyssey started in October when Lucas Martinez, 37, and his girlfriend were arrested for fighting in an apartment complex on Avenida Cesar Chavez SE.  Martinez had two urns, which he said held the remains of his parents. He had been living out of motels and had nowhere to leave them.

Police officers tried to book Martinez into jail with the urns, but correctional officers wouldn't take them. So, police tagged the urns into evidence and stored them in the APD property room. About 15 hours after the arrest, a hiker walking along Menaul near the base of the mountain found an urn next to some trees and took it to a police station.

The urn was nearly identical to Martinez's, but it was found miles from where Martinez was arrested. It also contained ashes and a card indicating the urn was handcrafted in India. Employees at the crime lab guessed it might also be Martinez's, and so they put all three on a shelf and waited for Martinez to get out of jail. Martinez was released from jail after a few weeks, and his domestic violence charges were dismissed, but he never came by the crime lab.

Evidence technicians tried to track down Martinez. They called the emergency contact numbers he gave to the jail, went to the addresses he'd listed and even checked homeless shelters. No luck.

"This was somebody, and we will always treat every set of remains in whatever condition they are in with the utmost respect and make sure they are returned to the loved one they belonged to," said Albuquerque police Cmdr. Paul Feist. Help needed

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