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Monday, October 26, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Students hand out cookies, then claim they were made with human ashes, police say

Chewy sugar cookies as seen in November 2015. Sugar cookies distributed at a Davis high school may have been made with human ashes. (J.B. Forbes / St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Chewy sugar cookies as seen in November 2015. Sugar cookies distributed at a Davis high school may have been made with human ashes. (J.B. Forbes / St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
By Michael Mcgough Sacramento Bee

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Police are investigating allegations that two high school students used a grandparent’s ashes to make cookies and then distributed them to fellow classmates.

The Davis Police Department on Oct. 4 received reports from students at Da Vinci Charter Academy in Davis who said they had unknowingly eaten cookies that classmates claimed to have baked using human remains.

“A couple of students came to school, they brought some cookies they made. Some other students ate the cookies,” Davis police spokesman Lt. Paul Doroshov said. “Then the students that brought the cookies essentially, at some point, claimed they contained one of their grandparent’s remains from cremation.”

So far, the allegations come from student reports and not physical evidence. The cookies have not yet been tested, Doroshov said. An investigation is ongoing.

The sugar cookies were distributed to multiple students, he said.

“As far as we know, no one’s suffered any ill effects physically,” Doroshov said. “There could be some emotional issues experienced, but no one got sick from this, physically.”

The principal of the school, Tyler Millsap, released a statement Tuesday afternoon saying there was no health risk to the community.

“We always take allegations of wrongdoing seriously and we conduct thorough investigations and involve the police or other entities when appropriate,” Millsap said in the statement.

Though morbid and disturbing, the incident would not be considered poisoning as cremated human remains are not toxic.

Doroshov said it was a “good question” whether baking human remains into food could be considered a crime. There’s an “obscure” penal code section defining improper disposal of human body or remains, he said.

“It would take probably some legal debate to figure out if that’s even the case here,” Doroshov said. “I think the intent of that (section of the penal code) was more like a death, and then somebody goes and does something with the body or remains.”

Doroshov said the school district is working with the Police Department’s school resource officer to determine the best possible resolution.

“It involves juveniles so there’s various options as to what can be done with it,” he said.

Davis Joint Unified School District issued a statement saying Davis police are investigating the incident: “This recent case has been particularly challenging and we have responded appropriately and in the most respectful and dignified way possible. Those who were involved are remorseful and this is now a personal family matter and we want to respect the privacy of the families involved.”

School district officials would not comment further to media, citing student confidentiality policies.

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