Grieving man spread fiancee's ashes inside Sarasota Mall - FOX 13 News

Grieving man spread fiancee's ashes inside Sarasota Mall

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SARASOTA (FOX 13) -

Fire trucks and police swarmed the Westfield Southgate Mall Tuesday. There were reports of a suspicious powdery substance being spread inside, some was also tossed inside Lenscrafters. At the time, no one knew what it was -- perhaps anthrax?

"Based on the information we had at the time, I think it was an appropriate response," said Lt. Pat Ledwith, Bureau of Criminial Investigations.

Part of that response, included putting the mall on lockdown for a few hours.

Now we know that the substance was cremated human remains. Police aren't identifying the guy who spread them, but it apparently was his way of grieving is dead fiancée.

"His fiancée passed away a number of months ago. She has a connection to Westfield and he was spreading her cremated remains around the mall," said Lt. Ledwith.

He's being offered grief counseling from the police department, and at this point they don't plan to charge him with a crime, adding he had no criminal intent.

"He did not realize the commotion he'd cause over it," Lt. Ledwith said.

It begs the question though, exactly where can you spread the ashes of a loved one? Anywhere?

"The fact that they're cremated and become ashes, there aren't any statutes to say they're a hazardous material. With it being a hazardous material, you can distribute it pretty much anywhere you want unless there's a prohibition against it," said defense attorney Jeff Brown.


VIDEO:
More info from Sarasota Police Department media briefing

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