This version of the story was updated to include the doctor's name and his explanation as to why he had the remains.
Caledonia Police are baffled as to why several jars of human remains, which were found last week, are now missing from a vacant home located on Three Mile Road west of Douglas Avenue.
Lt. Gary Larsen said he spoke with Dr. Grant Shumaker, who previously owned the house the remains were found in, and the items were indeed his. Shumaker got them in 1990 while he was a student at the Yale School of Medicine and he had kept them until he moved in 2006. He now lives in South Dakota and works as neurosurgeon, according to our media partners at Fox 6.
He thought the movers had packed the human remains and assumed they had been stolen or lost. Shumaker told police that the remains have a historical value since a prominent doctor stored them in 1901.
At this time, officials with the Caledonia Police are more interested in getting the remains back than pursuing criminal charges. Especially since they were stored in formaldehyde, which poses a health risk if someone comes into contact with it.
Police responded to a call about an open garage where the remains had reportedly been found at 12:55 a.m. June 9. A young couple had gone to the vacant home, which is owned by Ruud Lighting founder Alan Ruud, after a friend had told them she had seen the remains.
Makayla Harrell and her boyfriend, Darin Renaud, discovered three jars—one containing half of a human brain, one with two eyeballs that had been cut open, and one with some other type of unidentifiable organ. They also found what they thought was a dead dog in a nearby shed, but it turned out to be a possum, and two vehicles in a second garage. The vehicles appeared to have been in storage for a while.
“They (the human remains) looked like they had been there for a very long time,” Harrell said. “There were bugs all over it, there were spider webs all around it, the fluid in the jar was discolored and it was evaporating.”
Harrell and Renaud had seen the jars from the window of the garage and had gone inside the garage on Thursday, June 7. Harrell said she called her dad, who is a police officer for another municipality, and he told her to call the police.
“I thought, that’s not right, I think something is going on here – maybe if it was one thing, but it wasn’t. We found a dead animal, the cars, and the jars of human remains,’” Harrell said. “If there was something of value to them like from medical school, you don’t just leave them behind unless you don’t want anyone to find that kind of stuff.”
Police found a Chevrolet Suburban with Florida plates and a Ford F150 with Illinois plates that hadn’t been moved in quite some time.
A neighbor, Larry Wunderle, who lives at 4908 Three Mile Road, said Ruud has never lived in the home, and he purchased it several years ago from Shumaker.
Calls were made to Ruud, but they have not been returned.
“He (Al Ruud) owns the house next to mine, but he’s never lived in the house. He bought it from Shumaker and that was the stuff from his medical school days,” Wunderle said.
Our media partners at Fox 6 learned that Ruud was not going to pursue trespassing charges against Harrell and Renaud.