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Woman's ashes stolen from daughter's car


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Is nothing sacred anymore?

Woman's ashes stolen from daughter's car

By Kristi E. Swartz

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

All Jeanne Shuff wanted to do was to take her mother’s ashes back to Georgia and divide them into matching urns with her sister.

But she can’t now because the ashes were stolen out of her rental car just hours after her mother, Eileen Dashiell, was cremated in New York.

The ashes were in a box with Dashiell’s death certificate attached. Shuff said thieves broke into her car and tossed the certificate on the floor before leaving with the box.

“It said on it, ‘The remains of Eileen Dashiell,’ and it had her death certificate,” Shuff said Thursday from her Lawrenceville home. “Unless you really can’t read, there’s only two things that paper could really be: a birth certificate or a death certificate.”

Eileen Dashiell died earlier this month at 59. The family gathered in Queens, N.Y., on May 9 for her memorial service. Shuff had been staying with a relative for a while but was leaving for Georgia after her mother’s memorial service.

Shuff said the minivan was parked on a side street. The morning she was supposed to leave, her husband’s niece said the car had been broken into.

Also stolen was her 19-year-old daughter’s laptop and camera.

At first, Shuff said she didn’t care about those items – until she found out the camera had nearly 2,000 photos on it, mostly of family members.

“What use can that be for anyone?” asked Shuff, 40. “It’s the dumbest thing.”

The family filed a police report and tried to keep her 90-year-old grandmother, Lois Dashiell, from finding out what happened. Shuff said she had been in and out of the hospital.

“I didn’t want her to get more upset,” she said.

But media had already started gathering at the precinct.

“I just hope someone will have a heart,” and return the ashes, she said.

“It’s like I’ve been through every gambit of emotion,” Shuff said. “I can’t eat, I can’t sleep … I could understand that I had to lose my mom, but then to have her stolen like that. It’s beyond belief. It’s beyond belief.”

Eileen Dashiell’s death brought Shuff back to New York for the first time since she left for Florida five years ago. She’s been living in Georgia for three years.

“I could never see New York again and be OK,” she said.

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