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Man Says TSA Spilled Grandpa’s Ashes

By Todd Starnes

The Transportation Security Administration said they are investigating a report that one of their workers spilled the ashes of an Indiana man’s grandfather at a checkpoint inside the Orlando International Airport.


John Gross, of Indianapolis, said he was carrying home the remains of his grandfather, Mario Mark Marcaletti, a Sicilian immigrant. The remains were in a sealed jar marked “Human Remains.”

Gross said that a TSA agent allegedly opened the urn,  sifted through the ashes with her finger and the spilled about a third of the contents.

TSA spokesman David Castelveter told Fox News Radio that to his knowledge Gross has not filed a formal complaint with the agency. The investigation could also be hampered because that particular checkpoint did not have a video camera.

“We have been conducting an internal review and have not been able to draw the same conclusions,” Castelveter said. “The claims that have been made are quite the opposite of some very rigidly enforced procedures that we have in place as it relates to the handling of human remains.”

Gross told TheIndyChannel.com that the remains were tightly sealed in a jar marked “Human Remains.”

During the inspection, he said the worker spilled some of the contents onto the floor.

“She started laughing,” he said. “I was on my hands and knees picking up bone fragments. I couldn’t pick up all, everything that was lost.”

Gross said he wants apologies from the TSA as well as the security worker.

“I want an apology,” Gross told TheIndyChannel.com. “I want them to help me understand where they get off treating people like this.”

Castelveter said TSA policy requires every item to be inspected at checkpoints.

“However, our policy is not to open an urn,” he told Fox News Radio. “I’m not going to speculate at all on what he said happened or what did or did not happen.”

“This is completely opposite of our policies and the way we train our employees to deal with these types of situations,” he said, noting that workers are expected to treat the remains and individuals with “utmost respect and tender love and care as they go through that check-in process.”

Todd is the author of “Dispatches From Bitter America.” The book is endorsed by Sarah Palin, Mark Levin and Sean Hannity. Click here to get your copy!