Man returns home after a coma, mother’s ashes stolen from storage

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PRAIRIEVILLE, Mich. -- A Barry County man says that he fell victim to thieves who stole an urn containing his late mother's ashes. The urn was among items belonging to Brian Travis, items that were missing after he spent time in the hospital.

Travis, 58, says his belongs were placed in his shed after he was put into a coma by mercury contamination inside his home. A few days before he was released from the hospital, he got word that what was left of his belongings, including the ashes, had been stolen, he says.

Brian says that back in November he was melting gold, which he admits wasn't a good idea. He ended up extremely sick with mercury poisoning, and his home had to be demolished. What could be salvaged was placed in his shed, and that's where he said that his mother's ashes were when they were stolen.

"She was my best friend," said Travis. "They were just trying to hurt me. Why would they take her? When I came out of a coma, I thought it had been years, and then they tell me it's only been three or four months."

Travis says that the Environmental Protection Agency placed what belongings they could salvage inside this shed.

A neighbor said they had saw another neighbor breaking into the shed. "They let us know they had cut through one of my sheds into the other one," said Travis.

"It's bad enough that I lose everything and take my moms ashes?" Travis says he kept the urn to feel close to his mother, who passed away about 10 years ago.

Travis doesn't expect to see much of the stolen items ever again, but he's hopeful that his mother's ashes will one day be returned, so he can finally have closure, "get my brothers and sister together and bury her with my dad over in Otsego," said Travis.

The family said that they've been working with the Prairieville Police Department on the case.

If you know anything about the alleged break-in, you can call the Barry County Silent Observer line at 1-800-310-9031.

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