Burglar steals urn with child's ashes from Clovis home

CLOVIS, Calif. -- A Valley family is pleading for the safe return of a child's urn after burglars took it during a home break-in. It happened as the family was staying with their other child who is sick in the hospital.

Investigators say there's not much to go on. But the parents of the late newborn, who passed away four years ago, are begging for whoever took the urn to return it with no questions asked.

James Hall, Jr. lived for only a few moments after his birth. His parents are now left with few memories. They have a few keepsakes, such as footprints and a knit cap. Everything was placed in a special spot next to their bed. That is also where his urn sat, until it was stolen on Tuesday.

"It was just wood, and it was stained, stained brown and it just had one little brass nail holding the top in, and his remains inside," said James Hall, Sr. He discovered the break-in after returning from a 30-hour stay with his daughter at Valley Children's Hospital.

"Everything was still locked up at the front so everything was normal," Hall said. "But once I came in and seen the jewelry on the floor I knew there was a problem."

He found the crook's entry, through their garage. "They proceeded to kick their way through until all of this came open," he said. "When I came home and found it, it was something like that."

Damage on the inside door shows where the burglar pried the kitchen door open. The family's bedroom door was also kicked in, leaving cracks in the frame. Hall called his wife at the hospital to tell her their son's urn was missing.

He then called Clovis police. An officer responded and quickly began looking for anything to track the crook. "They're working on that right now to determine what they can glean from what's out there," said CPD spokesperson Janet Stoll-Lee.

James, Jr. was born on November 1, 2009. He was 15 weeks premature. His remains are an intimate memento for his parents. Some of the missing jewelry was family heirlooms, along with other valuables.

"Some tools, some jewelry, but none of that matters," Hall said. "I don't care about any of that stuff. I just want my son's remains back."

The Halls say the urn has a sticker on the bottom that says James Hall, Jr. The family is asking for its safe drop off. They're not concerned about the thief being arrested.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.