B.C. teen's ashes wash up on N.L. shore 3 years later
Published Friday, January 6, 2017 5:06PM PST
Three years after a B.C. mother sent her son's ashes out to sea, the bottle containing the teen's remains washed up on Canada's east coast.
Norman Sooley and his daughter Daria walk the rocky beach of Trepassey, N.L. every day.
The small fishing community is located on the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland, approximately 150 kilometres south of St. John's. Most recent census data suggests the community's population is about 570.
Norman and Daria's home backs onto the beach, and they often walk the shoreline looking for unique finds.
"We usually look for special rocks and stuff like that," Daria told NTV News.
Over the years, they've made some interesting finds, like antique bottles covered in coral, and a fossilized tooth from an extinct species of horse-type mammal.
But on Thursday, they noticed what appeared to be a piece of garbage wedged between the rocks. While many may have walked past the plastic bottle that washed up on the beach, the father-daughter duo noticed something was inside, and went in for a closer look.
"I thought it was like, sand from another country, but he said it was ash from a pet or human," Daria said.
Her father's instincts were right. Inside the bottle was a note and a photo explaining the remains were those of a teen boy who died on Canada's other coast.
Brenden James Minnie, a resident of Prince George, B.C., died in 2011 at the age of 18.
Three years ago, his still-grieving mother took a trip across the country, and had friends set his ashes adrift off a ferry to Bell Island, N.L.
"In her words, he didn't have an adventure in his life, so this was her way of giving him an adventure," Norman said.
The ashes were discovered this week by the family, who says they felt honoured to welcome him to his first destination.
"It was touching," Norman said, marveling at how far the bottle had travelled, and at the chances it would wash up on their beach.
In a post on a Facebook page, the boy's mother Kelly Minnie said she'd been contacted by the Sooley family. She joked: "I am so happy to know he hasn't been swallowed by a whale."
She posted that she was happy that he is still travelling, meeting people and making an impact on their lives.
"Miss you my son with every beat of my heart and every breath I take," Kelly wrote.
The Sooley family decided to let the teen's journey continue, saying a prayer with a local priest before dropping the bottle back into the Atlantic Ocean.
But they wanted a piece of him to remain at their beloved beach, so they sprinkled a small portion of his ashes into the water before sending him on his way to his next adventure.
With a report from NTV News's Ryan Harding