Kimberly Moler said she didn’t think her sister, Shawna Coby, would ever have to endure anything as heartbreaking as losing a child again. Coby experienced the loss of her stillborn daughter, Grace, in 2009. But all those painful feelings are returning, Moler said, as the family searches for Grace’s ashes, stolen from the Kake family’s van in Anchorage on Friday afternoon.
The ashes, contained in a small, white box that reads “Baby Grace” in pink lettering, were inside a black drawstring backpack in the passenger seat of the van, Moler said. While Coby was inside the Alaska Native Medical Center with her husband, Luther, around 12:30 p.m. for an exam related to her current pregnancy — she’s due in January — someone smashed the passenger-side window and took the backpack, which contained only the ashes, a change of clothes for Coby’s son, 3-year-old Matthew, and a water bottle.
“When (Coby) traveled, she didn’t like to leave the ashes at home,” Moler said, adding that the whole family is devastated. “It’s like going through the loss all over again.”
Christmas presents inside the van were left behind by whomever stole the backpack, the Associated Press reported.
The family is searching for leads on the whereabouts of the ashes, and wants them returned with no questions asked, Moler said. Anyone with information can contact the Anchorage Police Department or the Alaska Native Medical Center. The box can be returned to either location, as well.
“People need to understand this is very precious to them,” Moler said. “They never had a chance with their daughter; this is all they had.”
• Contact reporter Katie Moritz at 523-2294 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @katecmoritz.