The ashes of a Texan man enclosed in a bottle continues its journey across the Gulf of Mexico after washing up on a beach in Florida Panhandle, where a beachgoer found the bottle and handed it over to local authorities.
Inside the bottle were some of the ashes of tow truck driver Brian Mullins, who died earlier this year, along with some handwritten notes from his loved ones and the phone number of the deceased man's family.
There were also four $1 bills inside the bottle, which the mother of Mullins put inside to help pay for phone calls she hoped people who found the bottle would make to update their family on the bottle's voyage.
"This bottle contains the ashes of my son, Brian, who suddenly and unexpectedly passed on March 9, 2019," one of the notes said, as per CBS News. "I'm sending him on one last adventure."
|The letter of Brian Mullins, a deceased truck driver / Photo by: Walton County Sheriff's Office via CBS News|
The bottle was handed over to Paula Pendleton of the Walton County Sheriff's Office. She said she cried while reading the notes, especially the one written on a wrinkled school paper.
"When my father passed, I was 14-years-old," the message read. "It has struck our whole family pretty hard and, so far, it has been a very hard road. But, like my granny said, he loved to be free. So, that's exactly what we are doing."
Pendleton, whose husband passed away last year, knew she needed to help the Mullins' family.
She said she was "overwhelmed with emotion," sitting inside her patrol car after reading the notes and "cried like a baby."
CBS News says the officer asked the help of an acquaintance who owns a charter to the boat to sail the ashes far off the Florida coast. The bottle, the dollar bills, and the ashes will be once again at sea by Friday.
|The bottle containing the letter and 4 dollars under the custody of Officer Paula Pendleton / Photo by: Walton County Sheriff's Office via CBS News|
"He was an avid fisherman. He wanted to travel the world," Brian's mother, Darlene Mullins said, noting that her son had never experienced fishing.
Darlene asked her Florida-bound relatives to send off her son's ashes as she was unable to afford to do it herself. The bottle was released into the tide while her relatives were visiting the Panhandle community in Destin in early August.
"We thought it might have been the last we saw of the bottle," the mother said. "But we'll see where it turns up again."