Cremated remains of nine victims of the 1978 Jonestown massacre in South America have turned up in a former funeral home in Dover.
Delaware Dept. of Safety and Homeland Security announced the discovery in a statement released Thursday.
Spokesperson Kimberly Chandler said the state’s Division of Forensic Science was called to the former Minus Funeral Home on N. Queen Street last week.
“Our staff did go to the facility, they took possession of 38 containers of cremains; 33 of those were clearly marked and identified; five were not,” said Chandler, who added there’s no reason to believe the five unmarked containers hold the remains of more Jonestown victims. “It is now our job and our primary goal to identify those cremains, the five that were not identified, and to make notifications to family members.”
The marked containers, she said, spanned a time period from 1970 to 1990 and included the remains of nine people identified as victims of the 1978 Jonestown cult mass suicide.
Jonestown was the name of the compound established by the Peoples Temple cult in the South American country of Guyana. Led by Rev. Jim Jones, more than 900 members killed themselves by drinking a powdered drink laced with cyanide. It’s said many were forced to consume the drink.
According to the Associated Press, the bodies of massacre victims were brought to Dover Air Force Base, home of the U.S. military’s largest mortuary. It’s not known at this time how the remains wound up at the dilapidated funeral home.