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Indiana sheriff apologizes for mistake that added to grieving woman’s pain

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HANCOCK COUNTY, Ind. - A central Indiana sheriff is apologizing for a mistake that caused one woman a lot of pain.

April Breck's mother, Sheila, died in an accident this past September. Sheila was driving her daughter's car to pick her up from work, when she collided with an ambulance on a run in Hancock County.

Breck was told by a Hancock County Sheriff's officer that her car was being placed on a hold and he would contact her when it was released so she could collect her belongings.

Seven weeks later, Breck just recently found her totaled car at an Indianapolis tow lot. It's been out in the elements for so long, because Breck said the officer never responded to her repeated phone calls.

"He did not respond to me for weeks," she said. "Everything in it is just destroyed. It's covered in mold."

The worst part, however, was that the most important thing in that car was missing. She couldn't find her mother's purse.

"I don't have her driver's license. I don't have her keys to the truck. I don't have her keys to my home and whoever has it has my address."

Every night, Breck goes to sleep wondering who has her mother's keys and who might break into her Hancock County home.

On Wednesday morning, FOX59's Aishah Hasnie contacted the Hancock County Sheriff's Department and within hours, they found the purse at another police department.

Breck was in tears when she found out.

"You know they never would've told me where it was if you guys hadn't called," she said.

Sheriff Mike Shepherd said the officer in charge of calling Breck accidentally forgot.

"The officer that was supposed to contact her remembers thinking he needed to and he intended to contact her, but then he got busy, slipped his mind, and he ended up going on vacation for a week through that time. So it's just one of those things that just slipped through the cracks and we didn't get a hold of her," explained Shepherd. "We do apologize for the time that it took. And don't, again, think that that's the way that the department handles accidents."

Apparently, the department didn't even know there was a purse missing. Breck said they would have if they'd just listened to her voicemails or returned her phone calls. And then they would've figure out much sooner that the McCordsville Police Department - the first agency to respond to Breck's mother's accident - had the purse the entire time.

"My mom died in this county. And she lived in this county for six years. And I have never seen anyone treated as disrespectfully as my mother."