ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – A north Abilene family is looking for answers after walking into their home and noticing a mysterious black box in the kitchen by the back door. The family searched through their house for missing items or an intruder, but upon further inspection, they were shocked to find a black box that contained cremated human remains inside.
Resident Maxwell Miner said he has no idea who or why someone would leave the remains at his home. He added that the person also left behind a bible and a brochure to a church in Clyde.
“I’ve never heard of this person, like nothing. Didn’t know this person existed and all of a sudden, he shows up at my back door,” said Miner.
The label on the box said the remains are of a man named Mark Phillips. After calling the crematory, Miner learned Phillips was a ward of the state and was cremated in Illinois. His only listed family member is Denise Paul, who had a local phone number, but the number is no longer in service.
Miner said he always leaves his back door open so his dogs can come in and out. He made a video call to tell his mom, Jolyn Calcatterra, what happened. She said although she is a bit creeped out, she believes the person who left it meant no harm.
“Maybe somebody didn’t know what to do with it and gave it to you, I like to think that somebody entrusted us to do the right thing with it,” shared Calcattera.
The family said they didn’t call the police or discard it because they have loved ones who are cremated so they know how important it is to find the next of kin.
“I hope this person’s family comes and find them, but I couldn’t imagine losing a family member,” said Miner.
As to who Mark Phillips and Denise Paul are, that remains a mystery. The family is in communication with the crematory to learn details. They have also used social media to get help from the local community. KTAB/KRBC contacted the church in Clyde from the brochure. The pastor said he has been working at the church for 25 years and has never heard of the names, but he will search records to try to find any information.
If you have any information, reach out to Jolyn Calcatterra at (325) 518-8775.