Woman Had Her Husband’s Ashes Made into Jewelry. Then She Found Out They Might Not Be His: Report

"This has been a truly horrific incident," police said amid an investigation into a funeral home in England where 35 bodies have been recovered

<p>PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo</p> Police outside the Beckside branch of Legacy Independent Funeral Directors in Hull, U.K.

PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo

Police outside the Beckside branch of Legacy Independent Funeral Directors in Hull, U.K.

A grieving widow is reportedly looking for answers after she turned her late husband's ashes into jewelry — and now discovered they may not have been his remains.

A friend of the grieving woman, who wished to remain anonymous, told U.K. newspaper The Telegraph that the incident happened after the husband was cared for at Legacy Independent Funeral Directors, in Hull, England.

On Tuesday, Humberside Police confirmed they'd recovered the bodies of 35 deceased people from the funeral home between March 8 and 9 amid "reports of concern about the storage and management processes."

A man and a woman were then "arrested on suspicion of prevention of a lawful and decent burial, fraud by false representation and fraud by abuse of position," the police added in their statement before confirming that the pair have since been released on bail.

Related: Married Owners of Colo. Funeral Home Charged After Nearly 200 Decaying Bodies Were Recovered

Speaking to The Telegraph, the friend of the unnamed widow said “They paid quite a bit of money to have the ashes turned into crystal jewelry for his widow, daughter and grand-daughter to wear to remember him."

“But now they have found out that he wasn’t cremated and he has been in the freezer all this time."

“The widow is distraught," the friend of the family — identified only as coming from the town of Beverley in East Yorkshire — continued. "The family thought they had his remains, and are now asking ‘If it’s not him, then who is it?’ "

“They are now grieving again, they have lost that closure that a funeral gives you," added the friend. "His widow has now been told by the police that she will have to go and identify the body of her dead husband – imagine that!”

<p>PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty</p> A picture shows a branch of Legacy Independent Funeral Directors in Hull.


A picture shows a branch of Legacy Independent Funeral Directors in Hull.

Related: Discovery of Nearly 200 Decaying Bodies at Colorado Funeral Home Suggests Families Received Fake Ashes: Report

Another grieving woman, named by the BBC as Billie-Jo Suffill, 33, from Hull, also claimed she "never received" her father Andrew's ashes after he and her brother Dwane were cremated at the funeral home following their deaths in July 2022.

"It's not human, it's not normal," Suffill said, per the BBC. "It's not something you hear, not in Hull, not in our little town, it's crazy."

Humberside Police gave an update on the ongoing investigation in a press conference on Tuesday.

“We are continuing to support the families involved through this extremely difficult and distressing time. This has been a truly horrific incident and they are understandably distraught and have many questions, and we are doing everything we can to give them the answers they desperately need," said Deputy Chief Constable David Marshall.

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"Whilst I understand everyone will have questions in relation to our enquiries, I must absolutely stress that we are at critical stage and have to protect the ongoing investigation," added Assistant Chief Constable Thom McLoughlin, who is leading the investigation. "Therefore, I am unable to provide the full details at the moment."

McLoughlin added that the deceased found at the funeral home had now "been respectfully transported to the mortuary in Hull and formal identification procedures are now taking place."

“As part of our extensive lines of enquiries, specialist search teams of forensics are in the process of carrying out thorough and vigorous searches at various premises linked to the suspect," McLoughlin added.

“As part of the wider investigation, there is also a quantity of what we believe to be human ashes and we are in the process of carefully recovering and respectfully moving these to the mortuary."

Humberside Police did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for further information.

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