The police at Alaska’s Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport have somewhat of a grave situation on their hands.
Earlier this week, the airport’s Police and Fire Department publicly asked for help locating a passenger who forgot to collect “human ashes” left at a TSA screening checkpoint in August 2018, after earlier attempts to find the traveler proved unsuccessful.
“There is no name or identifying marks on the ashes,” the department wrote on Facebook. “We believe the traveler left the TSA Screening Checkpoint with a urn, box, or bag, without realizing the ashes were still at the Screening Point.”
The ashes, which were reportedly contained within a Ziploc bag, were initially placed with the TSA’s lost-and-found, where they remained for more than six months, the Anchorage Daily News reported. Police then reached out to local crematoriums and funeral homes to assist in the search before sharing news of the ashes on social media.
"Share it as much as possible,” urged Sgt. Dan Juarez of the airport police, per KTUU. “Even if you think you're sure that you have an urn and there's ashes in it, and you've traveled through the airport, just check.”
Airport Police and Fire is now asking for anyone with information to contact Juarez at 907-266-2574 or Deputy Chief Dave Schulling at 907-266-2501. The public can also reach out with info or tips at email@example.com.
A representative for Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport Police and Fire confirmed that, as of Thursday afternoon, they had no new leads.
The TSA’s official rules for handling and traveling with cremated remains stipulates that officers may not open crematory containers. Passengers are instead instructed to place ashes in a wooden or plastic container that can be X-rayed at a screening checkpoint.
Containers that cannot be screened, or that are stored in containers that “generate an opaque image” during screening, will not be permitted into the secured areas.
Out of respect for the deceased, TSA officers will not open a container, even if requested by the passenger.
Remains may be transported in both checked and carry-on baggage, though the TSA notes that certain airlines may limit passengers to just carry-on.