WACONIA, Minn. (KMSP) - A Waconia, Minnesota family is reunited with their loved one’s remains a month after they were stolen in a car break-in.
Michael Saice says the box containing his mother-in-law’s ashes was gone when he came out to his car the morning of January 26. The car was rummaged through and other personal items—including his wallet—were taken.
Michael and his wife, Trina, made a public plea for the return, but started to lose hope when they still hadn’t heard anything a month later.
“I continuously checked my messages; I’d take the dogs on walks and look everywhere. It just got to a point where I thought it wasn’t going to happen,” said Michael.
Ryan Schill with the community service department at the Minnesota Department of Corrections says a criminal offender who was picking up trash as part of a community service sentence found the box along West 13th Street in Waconia—less than a mile from where Michael and Trina live.
“No matter what they were out there picking up trash for, they’ve done a tremendous deed,” said Michael. “To care enough to look at it and then say something to someone... I would do anything to thank them.”
Trina and Michael hope to find the man who found the box and thank him personally.
“He’s going to hold a special place in our hearts for eternity,” said Trina. “He was a kind and decent man who did something that not necessarily everyone else would do and he gave me my mom back.”
The Saice family says although they’ve never stolen anything, they are sympathetic to the desperation that may have led the thief to break in to their car.
“We’ve been homeless, we’ve lived in a hotel,” Trina told Fox 9 back in January. “We know what it’s like to literally not know where the next meal is coming from.”
Saice’s mother, Linda Brinkman, lost her battle with cancer in 2008. Trina and Michael were keeping her remains in the car, as they have been living with friends.
“It was the safest place for it—or we thought it was,” said Trina. “We wouldn’t lose it for not being able to pay our storage bill. It wouldn’t get ruined by being exposed to the elements and it was with us all the time.”
Until they can find the time and money to spread the ashes in a meaningful place, Trina says they’ll be storing them on a shelf in the living room.