Despite Jonestown Link, Authorities Say “Case Closed” - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Despite Jonestown Link, Authorities Say “Case Closed”

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DOVER, Del. – Authorities have identified human remains found in an old Delaware funeral home as victims of the Jonestown Massacre, a bizarre and morbid find on Wednesday that unearthed many questions.

In total, 38 cardboard boxes, filled with cremated human remains, or "cremains," were found. Forensic Scientists with the Delaware Department of Homeland Security identified nine of them as victims of the 1978 Jonestown Massacre.

Neighbors recall when the Minus Funeral Home was still operating, as well as the man in charge.

"We just called him ‘Dr. Minus,' says neighbor William Crawford. "He was very humble, when he handled bodies, he never said much of anything. He was serious about his business. Very discrete."

A landscaper found all the boxes. He was hired to change locks by the Eastern Savings Bank which now owns the property. He said much of the inside seemed "left behind." Upon entering the back room, he found embalming equipment and bloody sheets, along with the boxes. Perhaps not surprising, given the way Edward Minus let go of the business.

"He got sick, things slowed down. Because of the type of person he was I guess he didn't really trust anybody else to do it [removing the remains] in the same spirit that he would have done it," says Crawford.

The Department of Homeland Security found death certificates with 33 of the cremains, leading them to the Jonestown connection, a morbid and complex chapter in American history.

William Richardson remembers it well. He grew up just two blocks away, and recalls that time in 1978, when hundreds of bodies from the mass-suicide were flown to Dover Air Force Base from Guyana.

"I was working at the [Dover Air Force] base at that time and they'd bring those bodies in, and I worked at the fire department -- they'd bring the bodies, the caskets over there," says Richardson.

Minus Funeral Home was one of many funeral homes which lent their services to dispose of those bodies properly.

"He was an honorable man. He was a hard-working man and I really liked him," Crawford said.

By these accounts, this funeral home wasn't the site of anything sinister, "Dr. Minus" was simply doing his part to help, until he was too sick to continue.

According to an obituary -- Edward G. Minus -- died in May 2012 at age 74.

The Department of Homeland Security says this is not a criminal investigation. It's simply a case of unclaimed cremains, there's no foul play suspected, and they consider this case closed.

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