‘That’s all I have’: Virginia mother pleads for return of infant daughter’s stolen ashes


Urn stolen in car break-in over the weekend

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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A Virginia family was forced to grieve the loss of their daughter for a second time after a prized possession was swiped from their vehicle this past weekend.

Now they’re hoping the person(s) responsible has a change of heart.

Brandy Kaufman says her dream came true in 2006 when she found out she was pregnant with the daughter she always wanted. A week and a half before her due date, however, she said she received some devastating news.

“I went for a check-up and they told me they couldn’t find her heartbeat,” Kaufman said. “My doctor sat down and cried with me having to tell me that she’d passed.”

JulieAnne Hope Kaufman, delivered on Nov. 14, 2006, was stillborn. Her ashes were placed in a handcrafted urn; inscribed on top, JulieAnne’s name, birthday and a quote that read: “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.”

The ashes of JulieAnne Hope Kaufman were placed in a handcrafted urn for the Kaufman family. (Photo: Submitted)

This year, Kaufman says she got a new job in Florida and before her family made the drive down, she decided to spend Thanksgiving with her parents in Chesterfield.

Sometime between Friday night into Saturday morning, she says their car was broken into on Dalebrook Drive.

“I was in shock,” Kaufman said. “My kids were screaming.”

The culprit swiped several large duffel bags that included clothes, tools and worse, the handcrafted urn which contained the ashes of Kaufman’s daughter.

“It hit me that her ashes were in the back corner of the trunk and I ran back to the car and that’s when I said, Oh My God, they’re gone and I just broke down because I can’t get them back,” she said.”I have no way to replace that.”

Now, the family who has already lost so much says they are hoping for a miracle.

“I’ve cried and I’ve sobbed,” Kaufman said. “Words can’t describe; everything else can be replaced. Anything else that was taken from my car, I’m not concerned with. I just want her back.”

Kaufman said that they just celebrated what would have been their daughters fourteenth birthday and it cuts deeper knowing her ashes were taken so close to the anniversary of her death. She goes on to share that her sons are already traumatized by the loss of their older sister and his is reliving the nightmare over again.

On Monday, Kaufman shared a special message for whoever’s responsible, saying, “If you have a heart, you’ll find any way to get them back to us.”

Brandy Kaufman (Photo: Talya Cunningham)

In addition to the remains, Kaufman says a picture of her deceased father and his baseball hat was also inside the stolen duffel bags. The family says they are offering a $1,000 reward for the return of their priceless items.

“I just want her back,” Kaufman insists.

Chesterfield County Police are investigating this incident, but ask anyone with information to give them a call. Kaufman says the items stolen were worth nearly $3,000; however, she just wants back the items money can’t buy.

“I mean, that’s all I have,” she said of her infant daughter’s urn. “She’s a person, she was our daughter and we love her.”


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