UPDATE: Stolen ashes returned to Knoxville woman

Update: 8:30 a.m. Sunday

(WBIR-Knoxville) A North Knoxville woman is calling it a miracle; her mother's ashes, stolen from her car trunk overnight Tuesday, have been safely returned.

After speaking with 10News and making pleas on facebook, Jeanette Swick said neighbors found her mother's ashes, inside of a brown box, in a nearby ditch.

"My mother was returned safely," said Swick. "Some did have a heart and I am blessed!"

Swick had been storing her mother's ashes in her car in anticipation of sprinkling them on her grandparent's graves during a family reunion in July. Swick's mother, Evelyn Lollar, passed away in October at the age of 64.

We will have the full update on 10News Weekend at 6 p.m. Sunday.

Original Story:

(WBIR-Knoxville) In a moment filled with emotion, a teary eyed North Knoxville woman pleaded to an anonymous thief for the safe return her mother's ashes that were stolen from her car trunk overnight Tuesday.

"I was just beyond myself. I can't understand anyone that would want to desecrate someone's ashes. (in tears) And if they threw them out, that's even worse," said Jeanette Swick.

Swick's mother, Evelyn Lollar, passed away in October at the age of 64.

"She was a go-getter. She was in love with everything about life. She loved church," said Swick. "She had ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease. And since she died, I've been keeping her ashes in my trunk."

Swick said she was waiting until a family reunion in Gatlinburg, set for July, to fulfill her mom's dying wish.

"We were supposed to go out there and sprinkle the ashes over the two graves because that's where she wanted, you know, her remains to be put," said Swick.

Swick filed a report with the Knoxville Police Department.

"This is the first that I can recall something like that happening," said Darrell Debusk, Public Information Officer. "We would think that the suspect or suspects thought there was something of value related to that box. Most likely they were unaware."

But, Swick said the cardboard box clearly stated "crematory" on the outside.

"When you open up my trunk, the light comes on, and unless you can't read, why would you take someone's ashes, you know. And the box was never opened, it strictly said from crematory," said Swick.

The thief or thieves also stole expensive jewelry, CDs, a CD changer, cash, and clothes.

"I don't even care about that stuff," said Swick. "I just want my mother's ashes back."

KPD said investigators were able to process evidence from the car, a white four-door Nissan.

"Right now we have an investigator working on that evidence, trying to determine who may have been involved," said DeBusk.
"What we're hoping is that someone will see that story, realize what's in it, and do the right thing and return it, to just give some peace to the family."

Swick said she's already forgiven the suspect or suspects, and said they can return the ashes, no questions asked.

"The box that you stole, if you just drop it off at my doorstep, because nobody messes with things on doorsteps, just drop it off. That's the only thing I want back."

10News asked Swick why she was storing the ashes in her trunk. She said she felt it was the safest place, since her curious, young step son would have tried to get into the box had she stored it in their small North Knoxville apartment.

KPD said this is an unfortunate reminder to never leave valuables in a car.

"You may not think that your car is going to be a target, but when you have someone out, going through the neighborhood and they have a desire to steal something to probably sell to supply some type of drug habit that they have, they'll take anything that they think they can get a few dollars on," said DeBusk.


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