TSA Agents Spill Deceased Mother’s Ashes While Searching Man’s Bag

A Cleveland man en route to Puerto Rico to spread his deceased mother’s ashes, as she requested, found an unwelcome surprise when he landed and opened his checked luggage.

When Shannon Thomas unzipped the bag, he discovered a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) inspection notice amidst a suitcase full of his mother’s loose ashes. Thomas is now suing the TSA and a few unnamed agents for what happened.

The incident in question occurred two years ago when Thomas flew from Cleveland Hopkins to San Juan, Puerto Rico via Washington D.C. Thomas had packed the sturdy urn in his bag, with the top very tightly screwed on, padding it with clothes so it wouldn’t come loose or break during the flight. He planned to “spread his mother’s remains in the Caribbean Sea, as she had requested prior to passing away.”

In San Juan, he discovered the ashes spilled all throughout his suitcase by the TSA agents, who “negligently, carelessly, and recklessly replaced the lid of the urn, placed a bag inspection notice in Plaintiff’s suitcase and sent the bag on its way. This action caused the urn to open and spilled the remains of Plaintiff’s mother on the inside of Plaintiff’s suitcase and on Plaintiff’s personal effects.”

Through the course of his two-year lawsuit, Thomas says that no representative of the United States government or the TSA has ever issued an apology or explanation to him for what happened.