A box of decomposed human remains found in an Ohio garage once belonged to a fraternal organization for use in rituals, police say.
The Mt. Healthy Police Department was alerted to the discovery after a resident overheard youth voices “coming from the area of a detached garage” at about 10 p.m. March 24, according to a news release.
Growing concerned, the resident went to check the area on Werner Avenue.
“After entering the garage, the resident observed a box which appeared to contain decomposed human remains,” police said.
Authorities were called to the building, and the remains were taken to the Hamilton County Coroner’s Office as part of an investigation, WLWT reported.
The next morning, police confirmed the remains were relics used in rituals organized by the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
The fraternal organization did not immediately respond to a request for statement from McClatchy News.
The centuries-old organization, founded in 1819, once had a lodge in Mt. Healthy, police said. The members met in a building now owned by the same owner as the garage.
“The group has long since moved from our area and when the new building owner cleaned the building, he stored material contained therein, including the box with human remains, in the garage he purchased here in Mt. Healthy,” police said.
Officials say an investigation into the remains continues, “but we have no reason to believe the remains found were from a recent homicide.”
The command of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows is to “visit the sick, relieve the distressed, bury the dead and educate the orphan,” according to the organization’s website. Members do this through helping their communities and those in need while promoting principles of good will.
The organization says it has over 600,000 members of different faiths and races in over 10,000 lodges and 30 countries.
“Rituals, symbols, and degrees are designed to ‘elevate and improve the character of mankind,’” the Independent Order of Odd Fellows says. “By taking these lessons to heart you become a better person and in turn help to make the world around you a better place.”
Mt. Healthy is a suburb about 15 miles north of Cincinnati.