Sheriff’s deputy finds small container of cremated remains during Washington County Fair

ST. GEORGE — The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is looking for the owner of a lost item found by a sheriff’s deputy during the Washington County Fair held last month – an item likely important to whomever lost it since it contained cremated remains.

In this 2018 file photo for illustrative purposes only the Washington County Fair ends Saturday with demolition derby, Hurricane, Utah, Aug. 11, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Washington County Sheriff’s Lt. David Crouse told St. George News that the object found during the five-day fair held April 14-17 at the Washington County Fairgrounds was turned over to him.

The deputy said he wasn’t sure what it was, but upon closer inspection, Crouse said he recognized the contents as cremated remains.

Crouse said the item is being held at the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, located at 620 S. 5300 West in Hurricane, for safekeeping, as they do with any item turned in to the department’s lost and found.

In this case, Crouse said, it is very likely that this particular item holds a special place of importance to the owner, since it was important enough to keep it with them even during the fair. As such, he said the department wanted to get the word out that the item was found.

The ashes were kept in a small container, but no further description is being released as not to interfere with the identification process.

‘You’d be surprised at some of the things that have been lost’

Crouse said the container was one of several items turned into the lost and found area during the fair, adding that every year there are several debit and credit cards, wallets and other items that are turned over to police.

“You’d be surprised at some of the things that have been lost at the fair over the years,” he said. “We’ve even had people turn in cash that was dropped or lost.”

Attendees at the demolition derby at the Washington County Fair, Hurricane, Utah, date unspecified | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Fair, St. George News

Crouse said if they can find a name on the item, such as a debit card, for example, they make every attempt to contact the owner, either by searching social media, or in some cases, he said, the individual’s contact information may be in the system.

He also said that anyone who turns in a lost item can fill out a “statement of finder” form. That way, he said, in the event the item goes unclaimed, then it will be turned over to whomever found it.

However, Crouse said if someone just keeps an item they find, they can be charged with possession of lost or mislaid property, since they kept something that did not belong to them without making an attempt to either find the owner or turn it over to police.

That is particularly true with bankcards and other identifiable items, he said, adding that cash is also considered a piece of property, even though currency is not marked with the owner’s identity, so technically, just because someone finds it does not make it theirs.

Crouse said one step that helps authorities identify any property that is turned in or recovered, whether it was a lost item or one taken during a crime, is for the owner to take photos of their items, particularly valuables.

“Why not snap a quick photo of any valuables in the event they are lost or stolen,” Crouse said. “It helps law enforcement to identify and then the match the property to the owner so the turnaround is much faster.”

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is required to store any item turned into the lost and found for 90 days, he said, and any unclaimed property after that 90 days will then be disposed of.

Studies and polls suggest that the top five items most often lost are keys, wallets, phones, TV remotes and glasses, in that order, and Americans spend about 2 1/2 days total each year looking for misplaced items. All of that lost property comes at a staggering cost – more than $2.7 billion is spent annually to replace the items.

To check if any lost property has been turned in or if anyone has any information regarding the item containing the cremated remains that was found during the fair, call the Washington County Sheriff’s Office at 435-656-6500.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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