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9/26/2012 6:00:00 AM
Husband's ashes stolen along with SUV

Erin Taylor
Miner Staff Reporter

Cars are stolen all the time. Helene Bryant knows that.

But when her SUV was taken from her carport last week, she lost more than a vehicle.

Tucked under the reclined passenger seat on the back floorboard of the white 1994 Ford Explorer was a plastic brown urn that contained the ashes of Bryant's husband, Mitchell Burns.

The couple was together for 15 years and operated the Silver Spur in Oatman for some time before marrying a week before Burns died of cancer four years ago.

Bryant lost her home because of financial difficulties following his death and kept her husband's ashes in her car. The urn was unmarked, but there was an accompanying permit to carry the remains in the glove box that may have tipped off the car thieves about what it contained.

Bryant said she's trying to remain positive in spite of the devastating loss of both her husband's ashes and her only means of independent transportation.

"I'm not taking it lightly. I'm just being realistic," she said. "I'm trying not to think about it, because I know where his soul is at."

Kingman Police Capt. Rusty Cooper said that 72 vehicles have been reported stolen in the city so far this year. That number includes cars, trucks, ATVs, dirt bikes, quads, utility trailers and boats.

Of those 72 missing vehicle cases, 19 have been cleared by an arrest, although Cooper added that in some cases, a car is stolen by a friend or relative and the owner drops charges once the car is returned.

Bryant said her car was stolen out of a carport 20 feet away from her apartment on Harrison Street Sept. 19. She remembers the date because it was her daughter's birthday.

She said that three out of four of the SUV's locks worked, but the driver's side lock did not, which is presumably how the thief gained access.

The Explorer has an Obama 2008 sticker on the back chrome bumper and a sticker on the front windshield that reads "civil servant."

Bryant named the car "Miss Nell" after a former Oatman store employee who later died in Hurricane Katrina. Bryant said she and several of her friends rely on the car to get them to doctors' visits and other appointments.

"That little car has been everything to several of us lately," she said. "We depend on it."

For now, the women are walking and relying on the kindness of their neighbors for rides.

The Kingman Police Department is investigating the theft. Anyone with information is asked to call the station at (928) 753-2191.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Article comment by: kathy esquerra

Helen, I feel so badly for you, having been there myself 2 years ago, they didnt steal my car, but they stole something much more precious. 2 years ago this month my home was burglarized while I was vacationing in Montana. They stole anything of value, but they also took my husbands and my mothers ashes. What kind of sick human being takes someones loved ones. I, like you knew their souls were not there, but I will never stop wondering where they are. I dont care about the stuff they took, but I want their ashes back. It's bad enough that I lost them the first time, I shouldnt have to lose them again, just because these people can't buy their own stuff, they have to help themselves to someone elses. I hope you get your car and your husbands ashes back.

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