NEW PORT RICHEY (FOX 13) - A couple on the hunt for a new home made a bizarre discovery at a foreclosed property on Wednesday. They found a makeshift urn holding a man's remains sitting outside the front door.
"When I looked down, I saw this box. I couldn't believe it," said Kimberly Hower, whose curiosity led her to push the box lid open with her foot. "I looked down and I saw the word 'cremated.'"
Inside the box of ashes on the ground outside a mobile home on Kiowa Drive was a cremation certificate with the name "Steve J. Reed."
Hower searched the name on Google. The first result was an obituary in the Tampa Bay Times for Steve J. Reed of New Port Richey. He was described as, "a retired time keeper and field boss at Reed's Vegetable Farm" in Minnesota.
According to the obituary, Reed was living in New Port Richey when he passed away on December 24, 2005, at 59-years-old. Hower said she has no idea how his remains ended up abandoned.
"Somebody knew him. He might have had siblings somewhere. I can't imagine somebody that died on December 24, 11 years ago, and he's sitting in a box out in front of a foreclosed home," said Hower.
She and her husband, James agreed to take the box with them for safe keeping.
"I cremated my mother about eight years ago, and I wouldn't want to see her like that. It's just not right," said James Hower.
The couple reached out to the funeral home where Reed's services were held, as well as Calvary Chapel Worship Center in New Port Richey where Reed was a member. The church said Thursday they would contact church elders to see if anyone recognizes Reed's name.
According to the obituary, Reed is only survived by a friend, Sister Elizabeth Calehuff of New Port Richey. Property records at the home on Kiowa Drive show she was the previous owner of the foreclosed property.
"Maybe something happened to the lady that was taking care of him, and maybe she got foreclosed upon because she couldn't come home," said Kimberly Hower.
The couple posted a picture of the makeshift urn on Facebook. They are hoping someone who recognizes it or knew Steve J. Reed will help them locate his loved ones by Christmas Eve, the 11 year anniversary of his death.