Casket, body bags found in vacant Gulfport building

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Contractors working on the new library in downtown Gulfport discovered a casket and two body bags inside a vacant building nearby. The workers had been using the building as a storage area.

Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove said the casket was one that washed out during Hurricane Katrina, and the body bags contain bones collected after the storm.

The coroner said there's no need to be alarmed. The remains are Inez Benoit, who was laid to rest in the white casket in 1993. He's been storing the woman's remains in the old building while the search continues for family members.

"Not only did we lose hospital records in some locations, but we also lost cemetery records," Hargrove said. "So it's been a chore over the past five years to try and get people who were washed out of the cemeteries put back to where they belong."

Hargrove said the two body bags contained assorted bones that were also washed out of cemeteries after Katrina.

Hargrove is asking family members of Inez Benoit to please contact him at (228) 865-4290, so he can place the casket back into the cemetery where it belongs.

The building has now been closed to the contractors.

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