OCEAN CITY – A hand-made wooden box emanating a rancid smell and several handwritten notes in Spanish found floating in a canal in Ocean City briefly baffled resort police last weekend before they were able to determine the unusual item was part of a religious offering.
Last Saturday morning, Ocean City police officers were called to a residence on Penguin Drive by a resident, who had discovered an unusual item in a canal behind his home. The item appeared to be a hand-made wooden box about the size of a shoe box. The police examined the interior and exterior of the box, and aside from the rancid smell, the box contained several notes written in Spanish as well as some balled-up paper.
The box and its contents were examined by OCPD crime scene personnel, but because of water damage to the notes and the contents of the box, police remained uncertain about the significance of the discovery. Over the weekend, OCPD detectives conducted an investigation into the origin of the box and the intention of its contents.
The hand-written notes led police to an El Salvadorian man from Silver Spring, Md., who admitted to constructing the box, putting the various items inside and placing it in the water while visiting Ocean City last month. The man told police the box had a religious significance and the notes found inside were prayers for prosperity and good health.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Maryland also investigated the box and its contents and determined the material found inside was not human. According to the El Salvadorian man who built the box and left it in the water, he placed the notes and a piece of uncooked chicken in the box as a religious offering.