More than a year after cousin's death, DC man finds out he was given wrong ashes

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Maryland State Police say they have launched a criminal investigation after a mix-up involving cremated human remains.

Police say the investigation began after a complaint from someone who was given the wrong ashes of a loved one.

Marc Inman, who lives in Washington D.C., told FOX 5 he was recently contacted by an Maryland State Police officer more than a year after the death of his cousin, Lawanda Williams. After Williams died of a heart attack, her family had her cremated and have kept her ashes in an urn.

However, Inman said the officer had shocking news for him.

"He explained to me that he had the ashes of Ms. Lawanda Williams," said Inman. "To my understanding, he was able to receive those from another family."

Inman said he doesn't know whose ashes he has, and that the mix-up was determined by cremation identification tags which are inside bags of remains. He says hasn't tried to find the number in the bag he has.

Inman said his family used Shaun A Reid Funeral Services in D.C. and that Reid has told him there was no mix-up. FOX 5 tried to contact Reid multiple times on Monday, but has received no response so far.

Maryland State Police will not say who is under investigation in this case and it is unclear how many families may be impacted. An Maryland State Police spokesperson describes the case as an "ongoing criminal investigation."

Inman said he plans to meet with police soon and try to get to the bottom of this confusion.

"It's very bitter, it's very hurtful," he said. "It's almost like opening up a wound all over again."

FOX 5 will continue to follow this developing story.