If you start asking around at any storage auction, you're bound to start hearing stories about finding human remains. In most cases, it's cremains in urns that people find. Sometimes, though, other body parts turn up. By now, the story of the Florida man who found a unit full of preserved body parts has made national news, and we talked with that buyer recently for the inside scoop. That wasn't the only newsworthy storage unit find for Florida storage facility owners this year, though.
Back in January, U-Stor Self Storage in Clearwater, Florida issued a notice to Rebecca Ann Fancher, the tenant, that the unit would be going up for auction if owed back-rent were not paid. Fancher's response was a bit unusual, however: She told them that there was a body in the unit.
The body in question belonged to Fancher's grandmother, a woman who had died in 1995. The family had arranged for her burial and constructed a coffin, but they were stopped from traveling to the burial site by bad weather and financial hardships, so they decided to store the coffin in one of three storage units that Fancher's mother and grandmother had rented together. Fancher herself – like the rest of the family and the storage facility's owners – was unaware of this arrangement until many years later, when her mother contracted cancer and confessed to the situation.
After her mother's death, Fancher inherited the storage units but had no ability to pay for them, so they quickly went into default. After telling the storage facility about the body, police were notified and opened the units, discovering a homemade plywood coffin containing bones. These underwent DNA analysis and came back as a match, corroborating the story. No charges for improper remains disposal were filed against Fancher in the case, and the body was transported to a funeral home for cremation.
In this case, the unit didn't go up for auction with the coffin intact – but it certainly could have. Although it's not likely that you'll find a lot of bodies in storage units, it's definitely a reality that everyone might face at one point or another. If you're in Florida, it seems, that reality may be even more likely.