27 urns filled with human ashes found in Henderson storage unit - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU


27 urns filled with human ashes found in Henderson storage unit

Posted: Updated:
A man found 27 urns in a storage unit he won at auction. (FOX5) A man found 27 urns in a storage unit he won at auction. (FOX5)

When Billy Smith bought a Henderson storage unit at auction for a couple hundred dollars, he said he had no idea what he was getting into.

"I've been doing this business off and on as a hobby for the last 20 years," Smith said. "This is the most bizarre thing I've ever found in a unit. I've found lots of crazy things over the years, but nothing like this."

The find: 27 urns, all filled with human ashes. 

"I discovered an urn, I thought 'Oh my God, this is somebody's loved one,'" Smith said after going through the small unit at Life Storage near Wagon Wheel and Interstate 515. "Then I found a tub full of remains, and then a second tub full of remains. I was just shocked to see almost 30 sets of remains."

Some of those remains were a few years old, others from the early 2000s. Many of them contained the corresponding paperwork. 

"Somebody had the gall to store a family member in a storage unit like that," Smith said. 

That somebody, according to Valley funeral home directors, was April Parks, who rented the storage unit before it went up for auction. For decades, she worked as a court-appointed guardian, making legal and financial decisions for senior citizens. But as of May 16, she was behind bars at the Clark County Detention Center, facing hundreds of charges of theft, perjury, and exploitation of her elderly clients. 

The charges came after a years-long investigation by the Nevada Attorney General's Office, Metro Police and the Clark County District Attorney's office. 

Court documents explained the 270 charges against her and her company. The indictment mentions dozens of victims, including names that were on urns found inside the storage unit.

"Horrendous things, just horrendous things were done to her wards," Elizabeth Indig said. Indig's mother was one of Parks' wards.

Indig's mother is still alive, but Indig said she was still outraged about the ashes being stowed away and then abandoned in the storage unit. 

"I shouldn't be shocked because I know all the horrible things that Parks did, but I am shocked, and I am appalled. Words cannot even describe how appalled I am," Indig said. 

As appalling as the find may be to people, it likely won't add any charges to the long list Parks is already facing.

Nevada law states: "Cremated remains may be disposed of in any manner upon private property if the agent who ordered the cremation so directs and the owner of the property consents in writing."

By law, Parks was the legal recipient of the ashes, meaning she could store them how she wanted. Her name is on several receipts and burial permits found in the storage unit.

Now, many of those ashes are being stored at a local funeral home as directors work with the Attorney General's office to find relatives to take the urns. 

The Attorney General's office would not comment about the recent developments or efforts to find family members. The Clark County District Attorney's office would not comment either. 

Below is an incomplete list of urns found inside of the storage unit:

  • Gwen D. Belgzin, 10/13/1938 - 7/4/2013
  • Bruce Basden, 5/15/1946 - 1/1/2015
  • Robert Jones, 5/14/1940 - 12/22/2013
  • Fumi Matheson, 6/29/1927 - 7/14/2012
  • Thomas Vannote, 7/1/1932 - 11/4/2012
  • Sung Ock Kang, 1/10/1934 - 6/2/2014
  • Martha Ornelas, 1/30/1948 - 5/25/2015
  • Charles Holmquist, 9/30/1931 - 12/13/2013
  • Cynthia Hawkes, 5/2/1948 - 10/29/2006

Copyright 2017 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly
Fox 5
Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2018, KVVU Broadcasting Corporation, Las Vegas, NV and WorldNow. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.