Family pleads for thieves to return stolen ashes of son who died 14 years ago

Feb 4, 2024, 2:24 PM

A heartbroken Davis family is pleading with thieves to return their son's ashes that were stolen ri...

A heartbroken Davis family is pleading with thieves to return their son's ashes that were stolen right out of their home. (KOVR)


(CNN) — A heartbroken Davis, California family is pleading with thieves to return their son’s ashes that were stolen right out of their home.

He died in a tragic ski accident 14 years ago. Now his ashes are gone, too.

“I just hope that whoever has taken the ashes, that they bring them back to us. We want to have them back,” Lisa Yamauchi said. “It’s important to us.”

A mother’s grief is shared by a father and brother.

“Right now, we just feel horrible,” father Michael O’Brien said.

“It’s been 14 years, but not a day goes by without us thinking about him,” brother Kevin O’Brien said.

The family is saddened and stunned again. Photos show Richard O’Brien, who died in a ski accident 14 years ago. A life was stolen from his devastated family then. Now his ashes, kept inside a grey and blue box in a special case, were stolen by thieves, too. A precious lock of his hair remains.

“So that’s all we have left,” Michael O’Brien said. “It’s been 14 years since we lost our son, and having this happen just kind of re-awakened the grief that we experienced.”

Michael O’Brien showed how the thieves broke into his home, climbing up a backyard trellis and shattering a glass door on the home’s second floor before ransacking the bedroom and stealing high-priced jewelry along with the ashes.

“I can’t imagine why, you know? It just makes no sense. It’s just cruel, I mean, that’s what it is. It’s outright cruel,” Michael O’Brien said.

Davis police say the second-floor break-in is unusual.

The break-in comes following a series of home burglaries in the El Macero neighborhood a mile away. Investigators are working to see if there is a connection.

The family has motion detectors set up on their first floor, which may be why the thieves broke in and left on the second floor. The question is how did they know the layout so well?

“Just bring the ashes back, please,” Michael O’Brien said.

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Family pleads for thieves to return stolen ashes of son who died 14 years ago