Ashes of traveler’s husband stolen in car break-in at Springfield hotel

Michelle Maitland woke up to her car windows smashed and her late husband’s remains missing
Published: Sep. 27, 2020 at 9:23 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - An Arizona woman stopped at a Springfield hotel on her way to moving her mother-in-law to New York.

When she woke up Saturday morning, several items were missing, but a few items were more cherished than any of the rest.

The pair stopped at the Hampton Inn and Suites on North Glenstone, just off Interstate 44, to stay the night.

In addition to shattered windows, Michelle Maitland discovered that her late husband’s and her grandmother-in-law’s ashes had been stolen from her car.

“It was gut wrenching,” Maitland said. “Gut wrenching.”

The two were not aware right away of all the items that had been taken. In addition to the ashes, her husband’s old clothing was also stolen. But eventually Maitland had to break the news to her mother-in-law that something beyond their comprehension had been stolen.

“At first she just thought it was her toiletry bag that was missing for about an hour," she said. "And I noticed right of the bat that his clothes, she wanted that, those were gone. So to have to break the news to her was hard. And we didn’t realize until last night that those remains were also in her toiletry bag.”

Maitland does not understand how this could happen or how anyone could ever do something like this. She locked her car and parked it under a light in the hotel parking lot, which was filled with several cars she said.

“I don’t know, you feel like you do all of the right things and then not even your stuff is safe in your own property,” Maitland said.

She understands how valuables like watches, wallets and other things can be quickly picked up by a theft. But she said she cannot begin to understand how somebody could take the remains of another person.

Other items like medicine were taken. But Maitland said the clothing and ashes were items that nobody could put a price tag on.

“These have zero value," she said. "Take the pills if that’s what you want. But just return those.”

The shirts and hats that belonged to her husband were cherished keepsakes, especially to her mother-in-law.

“He was sick for a long time before he passed away," Maitland said. "And that’s just something she just always remembered him in. And that’s why they were important to her.”

Maitland’s husband passed away in 2016 and her husband’s grandmother passed away in 2018.

She is still very close to her husband’s mother.

“She’s always been very special to me," she said. “I was with her son for almost 25 years. She’s having a hard time. Really hard time.”

The past few days of their trip have been very emotional, Maitland said.

“It was hard to sleep last night," she said. "You know, you stay at another hotel and think is this gonna happen again? Not that there is really a lot left.”

The rest of their trip has been filled with worry and distress as well, she said.

“We have a lot on our mind and a lot on our plate,” Maitland said. “Now we have to stop and take time to deal with this. Not only the physical time of the insurance company, calling the police and getting the window, but the emotional strain it takes from you as well.”

Maitland and her mother-in-law filed a report with police, but she said she is not holding her breath. She said she hopes to see those items again soon, but in the meantime the two felt they had to move on.

Both Maitland and her mother-in-law finished their traveling and have now made their way to New York.

Copyright 2020 KY3. All rights reserved.

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