(TULSA) - The director of a local funeral home has a corpse ready for burial, if only he can find the family to let them know about it.
When the remains of 53-year-old Johnie Willie Jackson Jr. arrived last week from Venezuela, the airline was directed to turn the body over to Moore's Memory Funeral Home. But the funeral home wasn't expecting the body.
"It's really a mystery,'' funeral director George Jacobs said. "Someone did a nice job of preparing him, but they didn't follow through.''
The death certificate indicates Jackson died Jan. 6 in an amusement park ride accident, Jacobs said. His last known address in the United States was in Tulsa, where he worked for carnival operator Murphy Brothers until November.
"From there, we don't really know what happened to him,'' Jacobs told the Tulsa World. "We don't have a lot of information to go on.''
Jackson said he has not been able to reach the Caracas funeral home that shipped the body to Tulsa on Feb. 18.
Cathy Murphy, marketing and promotions manager for Murphy Brothers, said her office staff went through Jackson's employment records to see if there was any family information but did not find any.
Jacobs has contacted the police, the Social Security Administration and Veterans Affairs for leads on the man's background.
The funeral director learned that Jackson had served in the Air Force from 1968 to 1971, when he was honorably discharged. Because he is a veteran, Jackson is eligible to be buried at Fort Gibson National Cemetery with an honor guard in attendance, Jacobs said.
He said he will wait about 10 days to see if any family members come forward before completing the paperwork for a military funeral.
"We think this man's family needs to know that something has happened to him,'' Jacobs said. "At some point, though, he needs to receive proper rites.''
Jackson is described as black, about 5 feet 10 inches tall, 160 pounds, clean-shaven and with short hair.
"These aren't unusual cases, but they're unsettling,'' Jacobs said. "Making sure that someone is properly taken care of after death is the last thing you can do for them.''
Anyone with information about Jackson can call the funeral home at 918-583-6148.