Woman's ashes thrown in trash by burglars of Towson home

November 04, 1991|By Lynda Robinson

D. Rhea Delauder wanted to bury her mother's ashes next to her father's grave. But she never got the chance.

The ashes of 86-year-old Delma Furtaw were stolen from her daughter's Towson apartment last week along with $1,500 worth of property. It was the stolen ashes, Ms. Delauder said, that led to the arrest of Charles Martin, 38, and Wayne McCants, 25, both of Baltimore.

"It wasn't just another burglary," Ms. Delauder said. "If they had -- not taken my mother's ashes, the police department wouldn't have paid attention. Maybe in some weird way my mother helped solve this crime."

Ms. Delauder discovered the burglary when she returned to her Camberly Circle apartment about 5 p.m. Tuesday, she said. It wasn't until the police arrived that she realized the small black urn with her mother's ashes was missing.

"I didn't care about the objects that were taken," she said. "I can go out and replace them. But you can't replace something like that."

Mrs. Furtaw, who died in July, donated her body to medical research. The body later was cremated and the ashes were returned to Ms. Delauder Oct. 25.

The black urn was inside a white cardboard storage box, which the burglars apparently mistook for something valuable. They dumped the ashes into a trash bin when they realized what was in the box, Baltimore County police said.

Burglary detectives tried to get in touch with the Dumpster owner, but the bin had already been emptied.

Ms. Delauder said she was told the contents of the Dumpster were burned.

"I do feel a little bit better thinking she was re-cremated rather than left on a garbage dump somewhere," she said.

Both men charged with the crime worked at Camberly Circle and apparently used a pass key to enter the apartment, police said.

Mr. McCants was released on his own recognizance, and Mr. Martin was being held at the Towson precinct on $5,000 bond. A bail review hearing is scheduled for today.

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