Remains of nine Jonestown victims found at closed Delaware funeral home

(Reuters) - The cremated remains of nine victims of the 1978 Jonestown cult mass murder-suicide were discovered inside a former Delaware funeral home, state officials said on Thursday.

The remains were found at the now-closed Minus Funeral Home in Dover, Delaware, after the new owner of the property contacted authorities about unclaimed urns inside, Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security spokeswoman Kimberly Chandler said.

Authorities were working to notify family members, and identify five of the 29 other remains also found at the home. Officials do not suspect any foul play in connection with the remains.

In November 1978, cult leader Jim Jones forced some 900 followers of his Peoples Temple to drink cyanide-laced "Flavor Aid" at his Jonestown, Guyana compound. Those who resisted were shot or stabbed to death.

California Congressman Leo Ryan was among the 918 people killed that day, when he was ambushed and shot by Jones' security guards while attempting to free cult members who said they were being held against their will.

The incident was one of the largest ever mass casualties of U.S. civilians.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in New York; Editing by Barbara Goldberg in New York)

[Image via The Jonestown Institute]