NEVADA CITY (CBS13) — It’s a lost and found item with deep meaning and even deeper questions.

A picture of a man was discovered along a street in Nevada City, and it was attached to something that’s raising both eyebrows and curiosity.

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Jenna Wordell spotted a mysterious-looking box while on her way to work.

“I didn’t touch it, I just kept walking,” she told CBS13.

Her coworker Debbie Dancy walked by it, too.

“I saw the box and I was like, ‘What is that there for?’ ” Dancy said.

It was left along Broad Street in the city’s historic district with buildings that date back to the gold rush days.

Police eventually picked up the box, and attached was an old picture of a young man in what appears to be a Coast Guard uniform. Inside, they found cremated human remains.

“That’s very disturbing,” said Nevada City resident Diana Gamzon. “I hope it gets reunited with their family.”

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But who left it there, and who it belongs to is still a mystery.

Police are not releasing a description of the box to preserve the investigation.

They say there was no name, no note, and no urn — the only clue is the photo and a one-word handwritten inscription.

“The bottom of it in like a black sharpie, it just said ‘ashes’ and it appeared to be an elderly person’s writing,” Wordell said.

Many are surprised and a bit concerned that human ashes would be discarded so casually.

“I thought just what a sad ending to somebody’s life,” Wordell said.

It’s a sad ending with renewed hope that this man’s remains will one day be reunited with loved ones.

“It looked like a nice gentleman, so I hope he had a nice happy life,” Dancy said.

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Police are treating this mystery with a delicate touch. The box of remains has been booked for safe-keeping until family members can be found.