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Chilliwack woman thrilled after mother's stolen ashes found

Last week, Shannen (who didn't want her last name used for the story) cried tears of sorrow as she told how thieves had broken into a storage locker and made off with a box containing the ashes of her mother.

On Monday, she fought back tears of joy after being told that her mother's ashes had been found.

Shannen's storage locker at the Vibe apartment complex was broken into over the Canada Day long weekend. Thieves stole thousands of dollars worth of camping gear and the box containing the ashes.

But apparently they didn't hold onto the ashes for long.

On July 1, they were found outside a convenience store at the intersection of Broadway and First Avenue and turned over to police. The urn was missing its lid, but the ashes were still sealed inside. It bore the name of Woodlawn Mount Cheam Funeral Home, where Shannen's mother Katherina had been cremated in 2003.

The Mounties handed the urn over to funeral home manager Tim Rowan. Efforts to reunite the urn with its owner stalled when Rowan discovered his contact information for Shannen was out of date.

But then Rowan read Thursday's paper. On Monday, he called the Times. And this reporter called Shannen with the good news.

Her excitement upon hearing the news was unrestrained.

"Oh my God!" she exclaimed, before letting out a shriek of joy. "Oh my God, that's awesome!

"Yeah! That's so great. Oh my God."

After getting Rowan's contact info, Shannen phoned the funeral home to make sure everything was in order, then called the Times back.

"My purpose has been served," she said. Recovering the ashes was "all that mattered to me."

And Shannen was grateful that, even though the thieves may have stolen her skis and camping equipment and daughter's scooter, at least they did the right thing and left her mother's ashes where they would be found.

"I'm thankful someone does have enough of a conscience to do that," she said.

Shannen plans to play it safe now. She said she will leave the remains at the funeral until she can arrange to travel to Saskatchewan to spread her mother's ashes next to her father's grave.

There's more good news. After reading about Shannen story, two people contacted the Times Thursday to offer camping equipment. Shannenwho is planning to move at the end of the monthhas already made contact with one of the good samaritans.

tolsen@chilliwacktimes.com

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