The home where went up in smoke Friday, when the Caledonia Fire Department started a controlled burn on the property.
Al and Patty Ruud own the property, but have never lived in the house. They bought it in 2007, expecting to tear it down and build a new home, but then decided to buile elsewhere in Caledonia. They tried to sell the 3 Mile Road property, but no one bought it.
The home sat quietly vacant until June, when a young couple trespassed on the property and discovered the human remains—eyeballs, a brain and unidentified organ preserved in jars. The remains apparently belonged to a doctor who had previously lived there.
“They had intended to tear the house down anyway even before all of the negative media attention,” said Battalion Chief Jeff Henningfeld. “So they decided to donate the house to the Caledonia Fire Department and we are using it for fire training and arson training.”
“So now we’re burning the evidence,” Patty said with a laugh.
Dr. Grant Shumaker, the previous owner, told police he 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 previous reporting by Fox 6.
Shumaker 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.
The jars of brains and eyeballs disappeared shortly after the young couple found them. Officials with the Caledonia Police Department determined that no foul play had taken place.
The Ruuds spent the morning watching the fire departments go through their training exercises, and taking photos.
With the house down, they still hope to sell the property to get at least something out of it—more than at least negative press—they said.