“It’s one of the strangest finds and I don’t think I’ll ever find another one like this one.”
For Paul Meyer, finding human remains in the Thames River was astonishing, especially given what he and his friend were talking about.
“We were reminiscing about all the junk and odd finds we’ve had,” Meyer said, noting that while fishing he’s found everything from car and bike parts to used needles, even an unopened safe in the Thames.
“I mentioned to my friend that I still haven’t found a body yet,” he said. “We turned around and there on the side of the bank was this bag.”
Once they got closer, the two men realized the bag contained the cremated remains of a human being.
Police not interested
“We were wondering at the time what we should do with it,” Meyer said. “We were discussing whether we should slit the bag and do it properly, let the ashes go.”
Instead, the two fishermen decided to investigate in order to find the rightful owner of the unopened bag of ashes.
“My buddy called the police and they said they weren’t interested,” he said. “There were no bones. There was no crime.”
Undeterred, Meyer and his friend contacted CBC News and left the remains in the public broadcaster’s care in the hopes it could solve the mystery and reunite them with the next of kin.
CBC pursues mystery
A staff member at Holy Cross Crematorium in Paris, Ont., confirmed that the remains had in fact been cremated at their facility and that they had been delivered to Needham Funeral Home in London, Ont..
A staff member at Needham Funeral Home told CBC News they also could not identify the remains inside the bag, citing Ontario’s privacy laws, but they could give the next of kin contact information for the CBC.
Within 24 hours, the next of kin reached out to CBC and wanted to meet.
‘She was beautiful’
The man on the other end of the phone said he was 82-year-old Roland Ilhe, a German immigrant who worked as a plumber.
The ashes in the bag were…