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4 Coffins Holding 6 Bodies Discovered at Storage Facility

December 17, 1985|MICHAEL SEILER | Times Staff Writer

Four caskets containing the remains of six people--some of whom may have died in the 1978 Jonestown mass suicide and murder incident--have been found in a Carson storage facility, authorities said Monday.

The coffins were discovered over the weekend in a storage room being rented by a mortuary. The caskets held the bodies of two women, one man and three others whose sex could not be immediately determined, Los Angeles County sheriff's spokeswoman Lynda Edmunds said.

Edmunds said the mortuary, which deputies declined to name, was two months behind in its rental payments to Storage-Us, 16001 S. Broadway. The facility's manager made the discovery Saturday when he opened the storage room.

The mortuary is out of business, another deputy said.

Two of the bodies have been identified, but the names are being withheld pending notification of relatives, Edmunds said.

Homicide investigators reported that some of the bodies may be those of Jonestown victims but declined to release more information, the spokeswoman added.

The manager of Storage-Us refused to comment Monday, referring questions to sheriff's officials.

A coroner's spokesman said the bodies were being stored at the county morgue pending the end of the sheriff's investigation.

Jonestown, in the South American country of Guyana, was the site of a religious settlement led by San Francisco's Rev. Jim Jones, who, seven years ago, led more than 900 of his followers to their deaths. Many of them died by drinking a cyanide-laced fruit drink.

The mass deaths followed the murders by cult members of Leo Ryan, a California Democratic congressman, and three journalists. They were shot on a jungle airstrip after visiting Jonestown to investigate reports that Jones was keeping followers there against their will.

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