A Colorado funeral home is hoping to get back the cremated remains of humans found in a Louisiana man’s vehicle last week.
The remains were found by a Pike County Sheriff’s Deputy after Louisiana Police arrested James Robert Lee II, 39, at his home on Prospect Drive for possession of methamphetamine and pipes to smoke it.
The story began to unfold on Tuesday, Sept. 23 when Lee arrived at city hall and told two officers out in the parking lot that his GPS showed that someone was following him.
At that time, a third officer observed Lee and “noticed he had signs of methamphetmine use such as constant movement, constant scratching and very small pupils,” according to a Louisiana Police probable cause statement.
The officer who wrote the statement went by Lee’s home at 3:48 p.m. after Lee called the police dispatch to say someone was following him and near his house.
The officer met Lee outside the home and “he told me he believed a black Dodge Charger was following him around,” the statement said.
When the officer told Lee he knew he had methamphetamine, the defendant “reached in his right front pocket and handed me a pink pipe generally used to smoke methamphetamine,” the statement said.
That led to a search of Lee’s room, where “various pipes were found throughout,” the statement said. Also found were baggies scattered throughout the room, some of them with methamphetamine residue in them.
One baggy had a small amount of methamphetamine that Lee said he bought in St. Louis, the statement said.
While two Louisiana officers were securing the evidence from Lee’s room and putting him in a patrol car, a sheriff’s deputy searched his vehicle, the statement said.
He then walked up to the officer who wrote the statement and said “There are remains of four people in the trunk of the car.”
The cremated remains were in four plastic boxes with bags of powdered remains in them, the statement said. The labels on the boxes said Callahan-Edfast Mortuary, of Grand Junction, Colo.
The boxes had labels with the names of the deceased on them and dates of their cremation ranging from 2005 to 2008, the statement said.
Lee then told the officer that he worked at a funeral home in Colorado “and the ashes were to be scattered in the Rocky Mountains but in the interim he got fired and had them in his car for several years,” the statement said.
The officer called the funeral home and a spokesman confirmed that Lee had worked there as a funeral director.
Callahan-Edfast General Manager Gary Blackburn confirmed Lee’s employment there on Monday, Sept. 29. Blackburn said Lee had worked for a prior owner and he did not know exactly when. Blackburn said the firm is trying to get the remains back from Pike County “so we can take care of what needs to be done,” by spreading the ashes in the Rockies. He did not think charges would be filed in Colorado against Lee.
Lee is now incarcerated at the Pike County Jail on a bail of $10,000 cash only, awaiting future court dates.