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stealing ashes

Theft of an Cremation Urn: what a crime?!

 

Theft of an Urn

Every week I have a look through material that appears on the Web looking for stories and developments in societies relationship with cremation ashes and memorialisation. And every week I discount at least two reports of heinous thefts of urns and caskets from grieving relatives. It actually happened to a friend whose grandmother’s ashes were stolen – he hasn’t told his father two years on. We also have the intellectually challenged in society who mistake the ashes for narcotics and end up imbibing them in some way. But this theft does shock us why I wonder (apart from the obvious) – we attach demonic qualities to the thief – I doubt the unsuspecting miscreant, if they knew that it was an urn, would touch it. Is it that modern urn design can deceive us to the contents? And does this say something about our keenness to hide or disguise the ashes in some way?

Then what happens to the urn? Do any criminals feel a pang of guilt and surreptitiously return them? Do they just get rid and unceremoniously discard them? Do they even try and profit from the urn, recycling it in some way? Do some even try and give the remains a send of?!

What do people feel about loss of the urn? And for how long? Academics talk about an environment of memory that we create and if that environment is removed and not replaced – this can be extremely traumatic for many. But when skipped a generation the emotion I witnessed was a sort mixture between  ‘Oh god, how am I going to tell Dad!?’ coupled with that dark funeral humour that seems to pervade in Britain, not overt sadness. Is it the same grave robbing? somehow I don’t think so, but I can’t explain why…

Sorry this post has been bit more questions than answers – If I find any I will continue in another post…

14 thoughts on “Theft of an Cremation Urn: what a crime?!

  1. Reply
    Sawyer - 5th August 2020

    My moms ashes were stolen from my house in January. I found out that it was my ex fiance and her mom that stole them and staged a fake crime. They live in mount vernon Kentucky. I wanted to have my moms ashes in my wedding but my ex fiance’s mom had a problem with it and they are the ones that stole it. I even got threatened by her dad for investigating and reporting the crime. The hodunk sheriff’s office didn’t do anything about it but I did report the couple of guns they took also.

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 5th August 2020

      Blimey Sawyer that does sound like a complicated family affair, I hope you manage to resolve it and find some peace.

  2. Reply
    David - 1st July 2020

    My wife servicing with an X partake and I come back home and my house has been pillaged ravage Lee I take it on the chin it was kind a late I went ahead and went to my sons room where there was an air conditioner in the Dow is very hot and then I got up the next morning I was doing some paperwork and I said hey you know what where’s my brother and my mother and my father which I had plans of barium you coming up here pretty soon but I was waiting for my brother from California to come out and my uncle to come up from another state I’m horrified they stole myThey stole my brother and I don’t think I’m gonna get them back my prayers as I do but isn’t there something illegal I can do for her responsibility and her actions of taking stuff that was not hers

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 1st July 2020

      Hi David
      Yes, I think I get it. You should contact a solicitor no one is allowed to break and enter.
      Hope this goes well
      Regards
      Richard

  3. Reply
    Barbara Naven - 17th February 2020

    I took care of my oldest brother after he became palatalized for one year and three weeks later when he went home he committed suicide. He was cremated and his son had his ashes and he gave his mother the ashes and my brother sat in a cold damp basement and deserved better that that. Shen the Ex-wife passed away my nephew got the ashes again and in 2013 lived with me for 3 months with his family. Things did not work out and he left the house leaving the ashes of my brother in my home. He came back and I refused to give them to him. Not because he did not take him but because my brother deserved better than a basement and my brother wish’s were to never be with his children. I moved to Europe and had another brother who was ill and recently found out that he passed away and cremated as well. The contact this same nephew and he had my younger brother cremated and he has his remains and also his fathers who I placed in a local grave yard before leaving the states. The nephew discovered this and had his fathers cremated remains removed by court order. I am happy he has his father and maybe he learned not to disrespect his remains again. However, he is holding my younger brother hostage and wants $20,000.00 from me for my brother. My younger brothers dying wish is to be buried in the grave with his mother and this nephew refuses to give me that right without paying him $20,000.00. I am the next of kin and would have paid for all of my brothers expenses if someone would have contacted me to let me know that my younger brother passed away. I could go to probate court and I would probably win but I now have no place to stay and the courts are backed up and would cost me at least $10,000.00 to do this. He has my back against the wall and so hateful. I am so sad and there are no laws in the Unites States that stops things like this from happening. It leaves us to suffer in ways that are unimaginable…What is really awful, my younger brother hatted this nephew and now I know why !!!

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 17th February 2020

      Dear Barbara
      Thank you for sharing this very sad story. We hear a lot about families that fall out and use the ashes as a threat or emotional weapon. It would be checking with lawyer what your particular rights are in this situation, as it is very complicated. Thank you for sharing and I sincerely hope it is resolved and you can find peace.
      Kind regards
      Richard

  4. Reply
    David - 13th November 2019

    I probably shouldn’t leave this here, but my cousin who was more like my sister died of stomach cancer. She was beautiful and funny and SO smart. She also had a horrible childhood and her own mother and sister didn’t come to her funeral. Jump to the ashes part. She was living with this man who took responsibility for her cremation. He just decided he’s going to entomb her in vault 400 miles from her family and leave her there. I want to go down and get them and dump the ashes in her favorite places like the forest. She was a wildlife biologist. I can’t fathom her being alone in a city so far away where she didn’t know anyone!! Is this theft? I guess it is. I feel like she was an orphan in life and now she’s an orphan in death! 🙁

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 13th November 2019

      Hi David
      That is a really sad story, such thing are are common than you would think: people showing no consideration to the other people in the deceased life. I can only offer you my sympathy, because revolving these sorts of things are extremely difficult to resolve if not impossible. Thank you for sharing.
      Warm wishes
      Richard

  5. Reply
    AnnaBanana - 29th May 2019

    We just got robbed by a contractor who was repairing our wood floors. He stole all of our jewelry & valuables, most importantly & most tragically the ashes of our daughter. The ashes were in a beautiful box that he stole when he cherry picked through oil belongings. My prayer is that he is arrested & I know God’s justice will ultimately be served, no matter what.

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 6th June 2019

      That’s is dreadful Anna, I hope you recover that ashes and the criminal is brought to justice and dealt with appropriately.
      Kind regards
      Richard

      1. Reply
        Jen - 1st August 2020

        Is it illegal for me to take my sons urn from his father’s house

        1. Reply
          Richard Martin - 5th August 2020

          Dear Jen

          The theft of the urn would be illegal, perhaps not the ashes.

          Regards
          Richard

  6. Reply
    mat - 19th June 2018

    well I had and have only now the death certificate states that the cremains are to go to me and at the homebmy mom and I built in 1992 Chico California 160 Artesia Dr anyway the probate lawyer was hierd by my sister with money from my mom’s separate bank account she had 2 bank account because she said that Michele would try to sell the home and my mother didn’t want that so she told me everything and now I lost the home well I got arrested because the lawyer and my sister conspierd this to happen so now I’m out of the way they whent in and whentbtherw everything and even took my mom’s ashes Wich is such a horrible thing to do my sister doesn’t care or does she even answer my calls

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 19th June 2018

      Dear Mat
      This is an awful situation, family confictic after the death of a parent can be extremely traumatic. I suspect you will need to seek legal advice as it sounds as if there is a lot of different aspects going on here. Some legal practises will offer a free initial consultation, I sense you are over in the States so unfortunately I can’t recommended anyone – sorry.
      Kind regards
      Richard

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