Ada County Coroner seeking help in finding families of abandoned and unclaimed bodies

Help find families of unclaimed bodies
Posted at 10:29 PM, Jul 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-01 11:08:36-04

Eight years ago, a mystery arrived at Saint Luke's Hospital in Meridian.

A 54-year-old woman died from renal failure.  And somewhere, there's a family who lost a loved one.

But, no one can find them.

It's a story that's all too familiar for the Ada County Coroner.

When Lynn Brandy Leonard arrived at Saint Luke's in a health crisis eight years ago ... it was the end of the line. Her life was cut short by natural causes, mainly COPD, renal failure and septic shock.

"She was supposedly a reporter from New Hampshire and, according to friends, a member of Jessie Jackson's Rainbow Coalition." says Ada County Coroner Dotti Owens.

Police reports say Leonard might have a living mother and brother -- but their names aren't known.

To Owens, it's a challenge that becomes a mission, "As a mom and a daughter, I would want to know. So my theory is there's always someone looking for these people.  We just need to find them."

Lynn Brandy Leonard isn't alone. When Owens took over as Ada County Coroner in 2015, there were 60 abandoned or unclaimed cases -- bodies that were cremated with no one to claim them.

"One time, we found a family in Greece -- and it took two-and-a-half months," says Owens,"They'd been looking for him for years."

But the cases keep coming in.

And Owen's greatest worry is that all leads may run dry.

If you knew Lynn Brandy Leonard or anything about her, contact the Ada County Coroner's Office at 208-287-5556.