Minnesota man warns others after USPS loses father's ashes in Texas

A Twin Cities man says the U.S. Postal Service lost the remains of his father that he sent to his brother in Texas.

It turns out families have few options in sending remains of their loved ones. In fact, the post office is the only legal way to send remains.

Dan Sepulvado used the post office to deliver some of the cremated remains to his half-brother in Texas. His father, Howard Sepulvado, joined the Marines out of high school and served in Vietnam. He loved music, often singing Elvis tunes, and adored his eight children who were all with him during his final days.

Dan said his father died after a long fight with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Howard donated his body to the University of Minnesota for research. Afterwards, it sent along his cremated remains that Dan divided to send to family members, including his half-brother in Dallas.

“I brought those to the post office. They packed them in one-day express envelopes, put a giant big red sticker on it that said ‘cremated remains,’ guaranteed delivery by August 20th at noon,” Dan explained.

The tracking data shows the package left the mail facility in Coppell, Texas at 8:36 a.m. Aug. 20 - but it was never delivered.

“When I told my mom that it was lost, she just started crying and said, ‘where do you think, where is he, where is dad?’”

In a written response, a USPS spokeswoman told FOX 9, “we are conducting an extensive search of our Texas facilities to locate this important package.”

The lost remains come as the USPS is under close scrutiny from Congress for operational changes that have slowed mail delivery. But, in this case, the post office says “no package processing machines have been impacted by any initiatives.”

Regardless, Dan wants other families to know the risk of losing a loved one's remains in the mail.

“For me, if it ends up being that my family - all of other siblings kind of have to split our remains into and additional urn for my brother - I will probably end up flying, driving them down personally. I don’t see how I can trust the USPS to get those remains somewhere at a specific time, by a specific date without going through this hassle again.”

Dan did file all of the proper reports with the post office, and he says that they are calling him about every other day. So far they have not been able to track down his father’s remains. He just wants other families to know about this possibility so they can make informed decisions for themselves.