Urn washes ashore at the James River Bridge


HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — A VDOT employee uncovered a mystery at the James River Bridge after finding an urn that washed ashore.

The employee made the discovery a couple weeks ago.

State Police have all sorts of calls at the James River Bridge, though the one that came in two weeks ago could be a first.

“You never really know until you actually get there,” said State Police Sergeant Michelle Anaya. “Once the trooper got there, realized it was actually an urn that had been beat up and weathered with just a name,” Anaya added.

The gold rectangular urn had only the name of the man inside and the years he lived.

“It was just trial and error trying to locate a family member,” Anaya said.

The urn belonged to 43-year-old Allen Kemp, Jr. He died 16 years ago.

“We didn’t want to have this urn sitting in an evidence locker,” Anaya added.

Troopers weren’t having much luck finding Kemp’s family, because most of his family has also passed away.  10 On Your Side then got involved, and on Tuesday afternoon, Allen Kemp was reunited with his uncle Owen.

Owen Kemp says Allen died of an overdose in 2004.  

“It was an all of the sudden death,” Kemp said.

The last time he saw the urn was at his nephew’s funeral. Kemp says about a year ago he ran into a friend who said a contractor had the urn.

“He said they were demolishing a house and they found this urn,” Kemp added.

Kemp never got it until Tuesday.

“It’s part of me, part of us and part of my family,” he said.

No will ever know how his ashes ended up on the water, but tonight he’s back where he belongs, in the arms of his uncle.

“I thought it was in a safe place, but now since we found it I’m going to cherish it,” Kemp added. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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