Family receives ashes of loved one found in run-down funeral home

In a small, quiet room inside of Saginaw City Hall, Ashley Hanserd had the rare opportunity to hold her father in her arms after spending what felt like a lifetime apart. (Photo: WEYI/WSMH)

SAGINAW, Mich. - An emotional reunion today that was nearly a decade in the making.

A Saginaw family received the remains of their loved ones, found in a now closed funeral home.

In a small, quiet room inside of Saginaw City Hall, Ashley Hanserd had the rare opportunity to hold her father in her arms after spending what felt like a lifetime apart.

“I can't believe this just happened,” said Ashley Hanserd tearfully.

Nearly a decade ago, Michael Dowayne Hanserd passed away while in jail.

"Last time I seen him was in a coffin. I have so much relief he's right here."

The family had his funeral at Elsie Black Funeral Home in 2008 shortly before it closed its doors, but at that time they didn't have the money to pick up his ashes.

Saginaw city building inspector Terry Collier says the cremains of Hanserd's father were one of 13 found in the run-down building.

The city was inspecting the property last summer after repossessing it due to failure to pay taxes.

"We had our environmental team to check for asbestos and that's when they were noted," Collier said.

Collier set out to find who the ashes belonged to, getting help from the media and local records to find their next of kin.

"To think when I see that family it was very touching to me to see that they didn't know who to contact where to go this is pretty good closure,” remembers Collier.

Another family was notified.

The family of Gwendoyln Wicker will pick up her cremains on Friday at city hall.

There are still 11 names on the list.

Doris D. Gill, died Oct. 7, 2006.

James McCornell, died March 4, 1994

Ternlxa Alexandria Phlegm, died Feb. 11, 1988

Jacquline C. Jones, died June 13, 1999

C.J. Smith, no info on death

Sallie Helford, no info on death

Melvin Bass, no informatiuon on death, cremated March 14, 1995

Cornelious Henderson, died Dec. 14, 1999.

Edward McClendon, died July 30, 2006.

Floree Tate, died May 21, 2006.

No identity, died Dec. 10, 1983

Please contact Terry Collier at 989-759-1308 or at tcollier@saginaw-mi.com


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