CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD) — Susan Murray and her friend Mark Seifstein like to spend their afternoons on the beach at Northbridge Park.
“It’s a wonderful place to relax,” said Murray
But, Monday’s beach walk wasn’t very calming…
“I saw a plastic bag over by that rock,” she said.
“It had a really industrial strength zip tie on it … and I realized I was looking at somebody’s remains,” Murray said.
Murray had come across two separate bags of cremated remains.
Each had a tag with a number and read “Cremation Services of South Carolina”.
Police suggested she leave the bags where she found them or throw them in the water.
“I’ve never run into anything like that down here before,” said Seifstein.
The two said they couldn’t just leave them.
“It’s someone’s family,” said Murray/
“There are too many kids that come down here and play. They’re just sitting right there, exposed … Even if you have cremation remains, you can’t just dump them somewhere,” Seifstein said.
Turns out, he’s right.
“There are laws of proper ways of scattering cremated remains,” said Mark Smith who owns McAlister-Smith Funeral Homes.
He hears stories like this one too often. Smith says he’s heard a story where a family threw cremated remains off a bridge, but didn’t realize a boat with fisherman was below them.
Smith says if your family plans to scatter the remains, they must let the crematory know.
“There are lots of different options for biodegradable urns, or you can even have a biodegradable bag that allows for you to place into the earth or the water,” said Smith.
You should also make sure you check with your town, city, or county about where you’re allowed to spread the remains. States also have different regulations. The Environmental Protection Association and The National Parks Services have rules you need to follow.
In the end, though, Murray and Seifstein’s story comes full circle.
Seifstein called the Cremation Society of South Carolina. Someone with the society found the funeral home where the remains came from, Simplicity Lowcountry Cremation and Burial Services
Both bags of the cremated remains are part of the same family, and the funeral home is in touch with the relatives.
Cremation is a service that’s becoming very popular because of its low cost. For more information, visit the South Carolina Cremation Society.