‘Somebody’s missing her’: Bringing Hazel Thuman’s cremated remains home

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A local man makes a discovery that sends him on a mission to bring a woman home. But the catch is, this woman died nearly 20 years ago.

Hazel Thuman was cremated in Santa Barbara after she passed away in 2002. Ash Reinhardt found her ashes this month, in a box, tossed into an alley in East Bakersfield. Now, Reinhardt’s on a mission to bring Hazel home. He says he was walking back to his apartment after donating blood when he found a white bag in an alley behind Goodman Street in northeast Bakersfield. There was a box inside that bag.

“I was passing the bag and something told me, ‘go look what’s in the bag,'” Reinhardt said. “I open it and it’s a bag of gray ash. Then it dawns on me. This is a person I just found.”

The label on the box with the ashes shows Hazel Thuman passed away in May 2002. Reinhardt says Hazel’s family deserves to have her home.

“This is someone’s loved one. Somebody’s missing her,” Reinhardt said. “So me and Hazel are just kind of waiting.”

Reinhardt says he has no idea how she found her way into Kern County. The label on her urn traces her back to the McDermott-Crockett Mortuary in Santa Barbara — over 150 miles away.

“That’s when I called the mortuary and I touched base to see if we can get her home,” Reinhardt said. “The mortuary said they would try to contact who they need to contact, but other than that I haven’t heard back.”

The only other clue in this mystery is the name and address of Thuman’s daughter. She’s listed on the cremation documents as Sandy Romer. She lives about 800 miles away in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

“Maybe I can send a letter and the daughter will get back to me,” Reinhardt said.

Until Reinhardt finds Thuman’s family, he says Hazel is in good hands.

“I have her in my living room on the shelf. So when I come in I say, ‘good morning Hazel!'” Reinhardt said. “If this was my loved one, I’d want someone to take care of it the way I’ve been taking care of it.”

17 News reached out to the McDermott-Crockett mortuary. They declined to give us any information leading to Hazel’s family. If you have any information that could help bring Hazel home, send 17’s Moses Small an email at mosessmall@kget.com

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