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Muncie man alleges detective threw mom's ashes in trash

Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 12:01 am

MUNCIE — A central Indiana man has filed a lawsuit against two law enforcement agencies, saying a detective dumped his dead mother's ashes in the trash during a search of his home.

In his lawsuit filed this month in Indianapolis federal court, Joshua Baker, of Muncie, contends that Muncie police detectives searched his home in October 2011 while he was at police headquarters being questioned by a Randolph County sheriff's detective about a robbery, The Star Press reported.

Baker says a Muncie detective found a velvet bag, which he opened, and a chrome vial filled with a gray powder, and discarded the urn and ashes in a water-filled outdoor trash can without asking anyone about the powder.

Because of the detective's actions in “negligently discarding the remains of a human in a garbage can along with the urn, Mr. Baker no longer has the ashes of his deceased mother,” says the lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages.

Muncie Police Chief Steve Stewart declined to comment about the lawsuit.

Randolph County Sheriff Ken Hendrickson said he believed his department's detective acted properly.

“We stand behind our officer because he had nothing to do with what was being claimed in the suit as the ashes of his mother,” Hendrickson said.

Baker was not charged in the robbery, Hendrickson said.