In weeks following investigation, more families reunited with cremated remains of loved ones

KANSAS CITY, Missouri - An NBC Action News investigation is helping more families reunite with the ashes of their loved ones.

Earlier this month, a report revealed the 155 boxes of cremated remains discovered in the basement of an abandoned funeral home.

NBC Action News published a list with all the names on the black boxes found inside the former E.R. Morris Funeral Chapel. Since then, relatives have been stepping forward to claim the cremated remains.

One of the people is April Jackson. The 22-year-old was too young to remember her father, Stephen Johnson, when he was murdered in 1994.

For years, a stuffed animal was the only memory she had. When she turned 16 years old, April tracked down her grandmother, who provided several photos of Johnson.

Then April saw the investigation and she wondered, Did one of the names logged in the eerie, bone-chilling basement belong to Stephen Johnson?

After contacting NBC Action News, she got her answer.

“A father is supposed to be a part of your life and I never got to know mine. This means a lot to me,” April said as she clutched her stuffed animal and an album with the photos.

Standing outside of Elite Funeral Chapel in south Kansas City, she was moments away from reuniting with her father.

When she entered the building, Stefan Morris smiled and introduced himself. He walked through the door of his office and reemerged carrying a bag that contained a black box.

Morris volunteered to help NBC Action News move the boxes of cremated remains to the business owned by him and his brothers. Their father, Eugene, ran this family business for years before his death more than a decade ago. For them, the goodwill gesture is an opportunity to restore the family legacy.

“I know this has been a long journey for you. Please let us know if there is anything else we can help with,” said Morris as he handed the bag to April.

With tears streaming down her face, April hugged her mother and said it was a moment she will never forget.

“I’m just happy I can do this and have closure and go on with my life knowing that my dad was taken care of,” said April.

Eventually, Elite Funeral Chapel will perform a mass burial with the remaining unclaimed ashes.

Contact Investigator Ryan Kath at You can also follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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