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WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — It started out as an average Sunday night for a local couple taking a romantic walk on the beach. That’s until the two saw a mysterious object washed ashore.

What appeared at first to be a book turned out to be a dead woman’s ashes.

“We decided what the heck. Let’s go out. We haven’t been to the beach yet together, so we decided to take a stroll here at Wrightsville,” Dale Stewart said.

Stewart and his girlfriend were casually walking down the beach past Johnny Mercer’s Pier, stopping every so often to pick up sea shells, when suddenly something unusual caught their eye.

“We were holding hands, stopped to kiss a couple of times, walked a little bit further past the lifeguard station, when I noticed this object flipping around in the water,” Stewart said.

At first glance, the two thought the black object may have been a book or even a crab. But as they walked out into the water toward the mysterious item, they found it was nothing like they’d expected.

“I discovered it was someone who had been cremated,” Stewart said.

As they further investigated the 10-pound box, they saw a sticker on the side that said “Jean Jewell/Date of Death: 9-28-10/Sex: F/Age: 69.”

Stewart’s girlfriend was shocked they had found what appeared to be the woman’s ashes.

“She took a deep breath,” Stewart said. “She was quite alarmed at first. She said, ‘That’s a person.'”

We were able to track down Jewell’s death certificate through Haywood Funeral Home in Raleigh. It shows Jewell was born August 1, 1941 in Pamlico County.

Stewart says he’s going to do whatever he can to get Jewell’s ashes back to her family.

“If we get a hold of these people, we can get this out where it needs to be,” he said.

We tried to contact who the funeral home told us was Jewell’s daughter in Fuquay-Varina. Her phone number has been disconnected.

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8 Comments on "ONLY ON 3: Couple finds Raleigh woman’s ashes during walk on beach"

2015 years 9 months ago

From the picture, I say whomever committed the dearly departed had no idea what they were doing. You are supposed to open the plastic box and dump the ashes from the plastic bag inside which holds the cremains. No wonder the thing floated back on to the beach!

Oh well, Mrs. Jewell doesn’t mind.

Here’s another tip…dump the ashes on the downwind side of the boat or you’ll catch a face full of your relative.

(Typically, junior enlisted have to learn this the hard way.)

2015 years 9 months ago

Maybe the family could not afford a proper buriel and/or she wanted her ashes thrown into the ocean. Although admirable for wanting to see that the family gets the ashes, I think Mr. Stewart should let the proper authorities handle this matter

2015 years 9 months ago

I found an obit for her brother, maybe someone can find more family:
Leon Curtis Jewell, Sr.

Mr. Leon Curtis Jewell, Sr., 69, of 53 Perch Lane, Belhaven, died Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2008, at Cross Creek Health Care Center of Swan Quarter. A private memorial service will be held at a later date. Mr. Jewell was born in Pamlico County on Jan. 27, 1939. He was the son of the late Leslie Curtis Jewell and Allie Mae Midgett Jewell. He attended the Pamlico County Schools. On May 14, 1960, he married the former Linda Hope Tippett, who survives. He was a retired farmer and contractor. Survivors include two daughters, Rosemary Pecina and Tammy Jewell, both of Selma; two sons, Leon C. Jewell Jr. of Kinston and Michael Kevin Jewell of Middlesex; two sisters, Kay Francis Kerr of Connecticut and Jean Jewell of Raleigh; three brothers, Jerry Jewell of Arapahoe, Jessie Jewell of Peru and Johnny Jewell of Oklahoma City; eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Arrangements are by Paul Funeral Home, Belhaven. (Washington Daily News [Washington, NC] – February 21, 2008)

2015 years 9 months ago

…. they DID NOT just toss the box over the side of the boat, regardless of its contents.

2015 years 9 months ago

We can only hope someone scattered the ashes at sea for the family, then simply tossed the empty box over the side of the boat.

2015 years 9 months ago

just maybe without the box this time….

Mort. I. Chian
2015 years 9 months ago

It is where it belongs. Family set her free in the ocean. Toss her back.

Mort. I. Chian
2015 years 9 months ago

Things slip off boat railings all the time. Unfortunate but not uncommon. RIP


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