It’s common in the self storage industry for people to not pay their storage unit bills. These things happen. Sometimes they forget, other times they simply refuse to pay. In fact, there is a growing niche around this phenomenon. Heck, they even made a TV show about it (Storage Wars). Typically, what the renter leaves behind is junk but there are times when valuables are found. On rare occasions, there are some really odd findings.
Take Derrel’s Mini Storage in Modesto, CA for instance. They recently found three urns in delinquent self storage units and brought them to the coroners office. Tom Killian, Deputy Coroner in Modesto, is used to this as he said it happens roughly a dozen times per year. Most of the time, next of kin can be located with little research but one of these particular urns was proving to be a difficult task. Killian was tasked with finding Rose Lyons relatives in order to determine what they wanted to do with the remains. The problem is, Rose was born in 1836 and died about a week after the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco.
With a bit of digging, Killian learned that Rose died from a stroke and her remains were given to a granddaughter in July of 1906. What happened in the years after that remains a mystery so far. Killian continued his detective work and found a distant relative living in Illinois. The relative, Janice Levitan, said she would be willing to take possession of Lyons’ ashes and give her a proper burial but both she and Killian are hoping to find closer kin. They are also searching for the person who left the remains behind in the unpaid storage unit.
Anyone with knowledge about Rose Lyons or clues about her family are urged to call Deputy Coroner Tom Killian at (209) 567-4500.
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