UPDATE: On Saturday afternoon, the ashes were returned to Bookmiller. She thanks the public for sharing her post.
CARROLL COUNTY, Ind. – A Cutler woman said her best friend’s ashes were stolen from her car. She is now pleading for whoever took them to return them, no questions asked.
The car break-in comes the same week as local authorities received several reports of thefts and burglaries.
Traci Bookmiller said she has carried her friend Helen Atkins’ ashes with her for nearly two decades. Atkins was killed in a car crash in the late 90’s.
“I got in the habit of leaving her in my car because I always afraid of my purse getting stolen,” Bookmiller said.
Bookmiller considered the center console of her car a safe spot until last week. She got into her car on Thursday and realized it had been ransacked.
“When I ripped that off and saw her ashes were gone, I could just feel my heart just fall,” Bookmiller said.
The previous night, Bookmiller left her car unlocked right in front of her house in the small Cutler neighborhood.
“I never thought that something so priceless could be taken from me,” Bookmiller said. “It’s like I’ve lost her all over again. It’s a different kind of pain.”
The person or persons who got into the car got away with $20 cash, a bag of art supplies and the ashes.
“I feel like I let her down, I feel like I let her family down,” Bookmiller said. “Just heartbroken.”
Others near Bookmiller’s home reported some issues to police, too.
Flora Police said they have investigated ten reports of burglaries in the last week or so. According to FPD, suspects got away with firearms and electronics. The Carroll County Sheriff said his department has looked into four theft reports and one burglary, including the stolen ashes.
Bookmiller said she’s praying there is a slight hope the ashes will be returned.
“If you see something like this in the trash or out in the country or know someone who was involved make a plea to them and just return it,” she said.
The ashes were in a small, yellow film canister inside a purple pouch.