Stolen ashes of Daniel Buccianti returned home

More than 24 hours of emotional turmoil won’t stop Adriana Buccianti on her mission to fulfil the promise she made more seven years ago – that she would use her son’s death as a catalyst for change. 

LOVE: Adriana Buccianti has been reunited with the ashes of her son, who died at the Rainbow Serpent Festival after a drug overdose in 2012. Picture: Kate Healy

LOVE: Adriana Buccianti has been reunited with the ashes of her son, who died at the Rainbow Serpent Festival after a drug overdose in 2012. Picture: Kate Healy

She returned home on Thursday evening to find her house trashed and possessions stolen, including the ashes of her 34-year-old son Daniel Buccianti, who died at Lexton’s Rainbow Serpent Festival after a combined drug overdose in 2012. 

“It felt the same way it felt when the police came to tell me he died,” Ms Buccianti said of the moment she realised her son’s ashes were stolen from her Wollert home. 

“My brain was going a thousand miles an hour but my body was in slow motion. I was just stunned.”

By Friday afternoon she was gifted some feeling of relief. She received a phone call from a sergeant at Melton Police Station who said they had found Daniel’s ashes. 

The plastic box containing the ashes, wrapped in a cover made from Daniel’s favourite jeans, was found in a recycling bin outside a home in Melton, along with a wallet and pension card which had belonged to Ms Buccianti’s deceased father. 

Although feeling distraught and emotionally drained when she spoke to The Courier on Friday, Ms Buccianti said she would continue to push for pill testing in Victoria, to ensure her son’s death was not in vain. 

She has been vocal in the campaign for pill testing in recent years and continues to attend the Rainbow Serpent Festival. 

“I think the universe is just testing me once more. I am going to continue (pushing for pill testing) because it is my son’s legacy. He can’t just be a statistic, a point in time that people will just forget. We have to push with this to keep other people safe.”

He can’t just be a statistic that people will forget.

Adriana Buccianti

Ms Buccianti didn’t attend Rainbow Serpent Festival this year because of the extreme heat, but said she would certainly be in attendance next year. She remains in contact with the festival organisers in discussions on pill testing and remains hopeful it will be introduced in coming years. 

“I most certainly hope that whoever is in government by the end of the year when we have the state election that they are progressive enough to think this (pill testing) is a step forward in harm reduction. It is a step forward, it is not a step back,” she said.

“We have to work as a community, and that was proven today (Friday) when that lady looked in the bin. She could have said ‘well really, who cares’. But she was vigilant enough to go in there, pick the ashes up, ring the police and reunite a grieving mother with her deceased son’s ashes. I can’t thank her enough.”

Police continue to investigate the burglary. 

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