‘I thought I’d never see it again’: Woman chokes up as father’s stolen ashes returned

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EVERETT -- It was an emotional reunion Thursday as Crystal Gibson was given back a charm containing her father's ashes that was stolen months ago.

"Thank you," Crystal Gibson said, choking up, as the tiny urn was returned to her. "I thought I'd never see it again."

The Snohomish County couple -- Michael and Stephanie Cox -- who found the charm and wanted to find the owner were featured on Q13 FOX News Tuesday night.

And Gibson said that's where she saw it.

"I kept watching it over and over and over and then freezing it ... I wanted to be 100 percent sure that it's my dad," Gibson said.

The charm was stolen from her car in Everett in February, she said.

"They took everything out of my car, and the only thing I ever cared about was this. Everything else is replaceable; this is non-replaceable."

Below is the story and video from Tuesday night:

As a maintenance tech for a pizza restaurant in Everett, Michael Cox keeps the grounds looking fresh.

“You never know what you're going to find. I find different stuff every day. A lot of people get stuff stolen around here. I’ve found wallets and purses in this parking lot," Michael said Tuesday.

Knowing all too well one man's trash could be another's treasure, Michael was shocked by what he found Friday in the bushes near the back parking lot.

“I find money all the time. I wasn't expecting to find that though; that was pretty crazy."

It was a tiny blue charm. He knew he had to bring it home to his wife, Stephanie.

“She would know what it was. She has something that looks identical to that,” Michael said.

“It means a lot to me. It’s got significant memory for me, obviously, because it’s my dad,” said Stephanie.

Stephanie wears the tiny blue charm, holding her father's ashes, around her neck every day.

“When my husband brought it home, I knew it was human remains because it’s not really something you just get from the funeral homes. You get it online and you order them in quantity, however many you want. It’s, for some families, a cheaper option than actually getting an urn,” Stephanie said.

“If you hold it up, you can actually see the fragments of bone chunk and ash, just like you can with my dad’s. So, I knew for a fact we've got human remains here,” she said.

Stephanie took action immediately.

“First thing I could think of doing was trying to figure out who does this belong to and who is this in this container right here, because it’s somebody’s somebody. I just started getting on Craigslist and then all the websites that would allow me to post, like the buy-nothing sites and stuff like that.

"I would just write: Anybody who is missing ashes, my husband was cleaning a parking lot and found some ashes,” Stephanie said.

She's thinking it could belong to someone who was visiting the area. Or maybe it belongs to a local. Either way, she's convinced this tiny urn is somebody's ‘somebody’.

"This is someone's brother, sister, could be a child, who knows? It’s really important to me to figure out who the heck this is and who the heck lost it,” said Stephanie.

Everett Police say they don’t have any reports of missing ashes or small urns.

Stephanie says she's going to keep it safe until the rightful owner comes forward. The tiny urn has a silver design on the front. If you can describe it and think it might belong to you or a friend, contact us at tips@q13fox.com.

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