An old coffin and some 26-year-old human remains discarded outside a famous Brooklyn cemetery about two weeks ago were those of a man whose Long Island family was having him reburied in a Pinelawn cemetery, city police said.
The coffin, filled with dirt and a few bones, was discovered May 6 by employees of a school bus company just outside The Evergreens Cemetery in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn.
A law enforcement official familiar with the NYPD investigation said police believe the bones come from a man who had been buried at Frederick Douglass Memorial Park on Staten Island.
The funeral director there reported that what they believed to be all of the man's remains were placed in a new coffin for the Pinelawn burial, the official said.
Apparently overlooked was an old sock containing what the city medical examiner said were human foot bones. Some hand bones were also found, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner said.
The male decedent had died in 1989 and was being reburied at the Pinelawn cemetery because his family wanted him closer to them, said the official.
The funeral director, whom the official wouldn't identify, then gave the old, deteriorated coffin to a salvage company, which was supposed to dispose of it properly. But since the coffin was summarily left on the street with remains inside, the NYPD is mulling whether to bring criminal charges against those who dumped it, the official said.
Because of the sensitive nature of the case, the official wouldn't identify the family involved.