Grieving couple pleads for return of son’s stolen ashes


ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A Kansas couple passing through Albuquerque had already suffered a terrible tragedy. Now, they’re pleading with the stranger(s) who stole something irreplaceable from them.

“I just feel like I’ve been hit in the gut,” Steven Hunt sobbed, as he told KRQE News 13 what happened.

For Steven and his wife, Kathy, it’s a one-two punch. Their 32-year-old son, Kyle, was killed in a hiking accident two weeks ago in California.

Search and rescue crews looked for days, until a hiker finally spotted Kyle’s backpack in a ravine. “That’s what led us to Kyle,” Steven recalled.

Kyle was an aerospace engineer working for The Spaceship Company in the Mojave desert.

“He was living his dream, he loved what he was doing,” Kyle’s mom, Kathy, told News 13.

Now, his parents are living a nightmare. Over the last couple weeks, they’ve packed up their oldest son’s belongings, and started the nearly 1,500 mile trip back to their small hometown in Wamego, Kansas.

They stopped Monday night to rest at the Hampton Inn on Carlisle in Albuquerque. It was their third stop along the way.

They parked the packed Penske moving truck with their son’s car in tow in a well-lit area, near a busy street, which made them feel safe. Tuesday morning, ready to hit the road again, the couple found their son’s car window smashed.

Broken glass was shattered all over the back seat. Kyle’s hiking backpack, and the memorial board his co-workers made, were gone.

“How could they take those things?” Kathy cried. “They aren’t of any value to anybody but us,” said Kathy. “To us they’re priceless. They’re our way to heal from a horrible loss.”

But the one that hurts the most, was in a small box, neatly wrapped in a handmade blanket; Kyle’s ashes.

“We ask the people of Albuquerque to help us find our son, so we can take him home,” Kyle’s mom made a heartfelt plea to the local community.

The couple is once again grieving their missing son.

While walking through the damage, Kathy made a small, but priceless discovery. A small box labeled “Items for the funeral” was still on the passenger floor board.

The box contained mementos from some of Kyle’s milestones. Kathy pulled out one of her son’s Cub Scout awards, a graduation photo, and his master’s degree.

The grieving mother held tightly a recent photo of her son smiling. “There he is,” she told KRQE News 13. “At his happiest, at the top of a mountain.”

The couple hopes whoever took his ashes has a heart, and brings Kyle back.

“Kyle’s with us in heart,” Steven said. “If we don’t get his ashes back, he’s with us in heart.”

The Albuquerque Police Department officer who responded to the call is also from Kansas, and told News 13 the theft hit home. APD also sent a chaplain to help the Hunts.

The Kansas couple said they’ll stay another couple of nights at the same hotel, the Hampton Inn on Carlisle. They’re hoping whoever stole their son’s ashes will bring them back, no questions asked.

The box with Kyle’s ashes were wrapped in a fleece handmade blanket that his grandmother made for him as a child. The blanket is black and beige with images of airplanes on it. The blanket and ashes were in a small, light blue bag.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Albuquerque Police Department, or 242-COPS.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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