The end of October and the Halloween holiday are usually the time for stories involving mystery and the macabre. Utah apparently believes late September is as good a time as any to present the world with one of these stories that, if not spine tingling, at least confounds.

Randi Deem of Washington City, Utah explained to Kimberly Scott of the St. George News how on a dark and stormy night, a neighbor fixated on digging into the earth to replace his rain-washed out patio, and her own curious daughters at play in the vacant lot dotted with large rocks amidst the clay red dirt, came together to reveal a decorative wooden box containing a shocking discovery.

“The box looks just like a little tiny – maybe a jewelry case or a little handmade wooden – like a little music box or something perhaps,” Deem said, continuing, “You can tell it’s handmade and there’s some detailing on the front. On the top, on the lid, there’s some flowers they’ve kind of etched into the top of the lid. It’s really quite pretty. They’ve gone to a lot of work, whoever made this little box.”

Deem is convinced the reason someone would put so much care and attention into the detail of the small wooden box has less to do with their love of woodworking and more to do with their love for what or who is contained within.

Opening the wooden box, Deem found a picture of a young girl in a short sleeved dress tucked firmly above plastic wrap that contains as yet unconfirmed human remains. The state of Nevada has very limited regulation on how and where cremated human remains can be stored, scattered, or buried. This is likely because of the recognition that cremated remains pose no public health threat.

Deem hopes to reunite the recently unearthed remains with a member of the little girl’s family. But this is where the mystery takes another turn. Despite the aged photograph offering several clues, each one has led Deem down a dead end. The handwritten name on the back of the picture, Arline Fisher, doesn’t match up with the Utah Division of Archives and Records Service, as no one with that name has a death record in the state.

Deem has yet to report her find to law enforcement who have explained that such an item, if reported and turned over to them would be held as stolen property. For now, Deem has cleaned up the box and is continuing her search for the next-of-kin of young Arline Fisher.