Westland family recovers stolen ashes, urn

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WESTLAND, Mich. – A Westland family was shocked to discover their son’s urn was stolen Saturday from the Cadillac Memorial Gardens Cemetery, but it’s what was left behind that added insult to injury. 

UPDATE: The urn has been recovered by the family. 

ORIGINAL STORY: Urn, ashes stolen from cemetery in Westland

Timmy Owens was 26 when he died in 2014. Owens' cousin had just paid respects to her parents and was driving back when she spotted the memorial bench and realized something was wrong. 

"She noticed the top was twisted, and backwards," said Owens' sister Jill Barbie. "There’s some writing on the front. She didn’t see that."

The family investigated, and when they lifted the bench, they discovered the urn was gone. 

"For us, it’s like he’s died twice." Barbie said. "My mom was sobbing uncontrollably and my dad was just angry at everybody."

The family was feeling emotional, and that was before they found a plastic container filled with drug paraphernalia had been left behind.

"It’s like a big slap in the face," Barbie said. "I think it’s super personal."

Owens died in 2014 after overdosing on heroin laced with fentanyl. 

"He was a good kid," Barbie said. "He couldn’t find that clear path for himself."

His family believes people he may have used with are behind the theft. 

"It was either, like, they’re getting back at us or maybe they’re saying, ‘We made a pact and do this with our ashes,’ but why four years later?" Barbie asked.

The Owens family has been comforted by the bench in the past as they grieved for their family member.

Regardless of why the urn was taken, they’re hoping someone will do the right thing. 

"Literally, the only thing my mom wants is her child back," said Charlena Owens. "She’s empty without him. He was a really good kid, loved his family and he needs to be back with us."

Westland police are investigating, and are hoping to find fingerprints on the container with drug paraphernalia. 

The family said they just want the urn back.

If you have any information and would like to reach the family, you can email them here.

About the Authors:

Priya joined WDIV-Local 4 in 2013 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Education: B.A. in Communications/Post Grad in Advanced Journalism