After returning home from a marathon in San Antonio last weekend, a Texas couple found their home and bedroom stripped of jewelry and other precious belongings — but it’s one item in particular, the ashes of their infant son, that they are hoping the crooks have the compassion to return.
Siobahn Gracely and her husband, AJ, are pleading with the unidentified thieves to return the small white box — decorated with a bear on its lid — that contains the ashes of their son Julien, who died in September 2016 at 11 weeks old, they told the Dallas Morning News.
“His life has already been tragically taken away from him,” Gracely, who did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment, told the newspaper. “And then to have his ashes stolen as well. It’s just the most heart-wrenching situation.”
In a Facebook message posted to a friend’s account, Gracely expressed her grief and made a public request for help recovering the container, which has never been open by the family.
“This weekend our home was broken into while we were out of town for 28 hours,” she said. “Jewelry was stolen but so were Julien’s ashes. We are heartbroken. We know our baby is in heaven but want his ashes back. The ashes were in a white hard plastic cube with a silver teddy bear on the top.”
Gracely confirmed that there is a reward being offered, and hopes someone will “have the heart to return” the container through the Houston Police Department or Fire Department.
The couple — who live in the Houston area — think the container was likely taken because the thieves believed it held jewelry or watches, they told ABC 13. Because of this, the family fears they will toss the remains away once they open it.
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“I am certain they thought the box containing the ashes was used to store jewelry,” Gracely’s sister, Caroline Kalil Baizan, wrote in a post on social media as noted by the Morning News. “When they do unscrew the cube, they will throw the box along with their young son’s ashes away.”
Gracely, despite the odds, is holding on to hope.
“Hopefully, hopefully, someone will see it,” Gracely told ABC 13. “You do hear stories of these ashes found and returned.”
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