Cops Confiscate Cremated Remains Of Man’s Grandfather Thinking It Was Heroin

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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Police responding to a car accident they thought was caused by opioid use ended up accidentally seizing the cremated remains of a Maine resident’s father.

Officers with the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office responding to the crash in Augusta Saturday originally said they discovered two bags of heroin during a search of the vehicle that totaled roughly 48 grams. A subsequent test turned up negative for heroin and officials soon realized the bags contained human remains. The ashes are of Robert Curtis Sr., the father of the car’s owner who passed away in 2013 at age 76, reported Central Maine.

Authorities returned the ashes to Kevin Curtis Tuesday. “This was the first time my father was ever in lockup right here, and it took me forever to get him out of it,” Curtis told Central Maine.

Curtis had lent his car to a friend, 31-year-old Jess Legendre, to go grocery shopping Saturday. Legendre, who had his license suspended under the state’s habitual offender law, ended up crashing the car into a ditch after hitting a utility poll. Police said Legendre was conscious but unresponsive, which led them to administer a dose of the opioid overdose reversal drug Narcan. First responders found a brown substance in Legendre’s mouth that they suspected was heroin.

Despite the symptoms exhibited by Legendre, police say there is no evidence he was in possession of or using heroin. He was released to Kennebec County Jail, where he faces charges of operating after habitual offender revocation and falsifying physical evidence.

Curtis was keeping the remains in his car, away from his four young children, until an urn he ordered arrived, he said Tuesday. He had recently received the cremated remains from his sister.

“The kids were really mad when they found out that (the police) took Grandpa, but I tried to make a joke of it,” Curtis told Central Maine. “I said, ‘This is the first time he’s ever been in lockup and we’ll just get him out.'”

An officer with the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office called the incident “rather unusual.”

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