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‘I’m just plain disgusted with the mail service’: Akron woman’s ashes lost in mail

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AKRON --It was the dying wish of 81-year-old Catherine Stermock of Akron that she be cremated and that her remains be buried in Pennsylvania next to her mother, father and sister.

Her daughter, Kimberly Phillips, told Fox 8,  "she's missed her family, my mom has always been about family, grandchildren, her kids, she's always given of herself before anybody else."

Acting on directions from employees at the U.S. Postal Service's Ellet Station, Catherine Stermock's daughter says she placed her mother's cremains in a priority mail express package that was mailed on Friday and was told they would arrive at a funeral home in Bethlehem, PA on Saturday, but the parcel never made it.

"Ever since then, we've been calling Cleveland, we've been calling P.A., we've been calling Akron. I went down to the Akron post office this morning, nobody knows where my mom is. They're looking for this box, there's no way to track her," said Phillips.

Phillips told Fox 8 that the most difficult part of the ordeal was telling her 82-year-old father that the postal service lost the remains of his wife of 60 years.

Joseph Stermock said, "now, if you lost your wife's remains, what would you think? And nobody can tell you nothing. That was her wishes, that's what she wanted, that's what she got, I think, right now I'm just plain disgusted with the mail service."

U.S. Postal Service spokesman David Van Allen said an internal tracking system shows that the package was last accounted for at 8:00PM on Saturday at the main post office in Cleveland. Van Allen said the postal service is conducting an aggressive search for the parcel, which has a tracking number on it.

But the family of Catherine Stermock says they have little faith in the tracking system, considering the fact that the postal service showed that the package arrived in Cleveland two minutes before Stermock's daughter first took the priority package and its precious contents to the post office in Akron.

"We're trying to respect her wishes, that's our mom”, said Phillips. “It might be ashes now, but that's still our mom."