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Lifestyle & Human Interest

Thief Returns Teen's Ashes with Tearful Apology After Discovering Urn in Stolen Backpack

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It can be difficult to keep your belongings safe while you travel.

If you are taking public transportation, you have to keep an eye on your possessions at all times, and plenty of tourist attractions and destinations are plastered with warnings to hide your belongings in your car if you’re driving.

When one family from Sweden was visiting Cyprus, they left their suitcases and backpacks in their rental car — and within 20 minutes, their bags had vanished.

Kinga Bednarz, one of the travelers, was only concerned about one item that was stolen: the remains of her son, Dennis. The family had gone to Cyprus and parked at Governor’s Beach in order to scatter the ashes of her late 19-year-old son, who’d passed away five months ago after an accident.

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The entire trip was a way for Bednarz to heal from the loss. She told the BBC that she couldn’t stand the thought of Christmas at home without Dennis.

“We wanted to go away to find a warmer place to close the worst year of our life,” she explained.

The urn containing his ashes had been in one of the backpacks, and Bednarz was understandably distraught.

“TRAGIC SITUATION!” Bednarz posted Friday. “We need help of citizens or turists on Cyprys, Gouvenor`beach, near Limassol. We have arrived in Cyprus on sunday. Today we went to Kalymnos Beach to drink something. When we left the restaurant, we saw that our car has been the robbed!”

“Somebody damaged the window and took the backpacks and other bags. Inside of the black backpack there was a wooden box with my son’s ashes!!”

“We need to get the box back. Please, help us!!! Now we feel likewe have lost him one more time!! The thief doesn’t need to return all of the stuff, only the wooden box. PLEASE!!”

Bednarz also included a photo of the box, explaining that the thief might discard it once they realized what it was, and she pleaded for locals to keep their eyes peeled for it.

Somehow, the story got around to the thief, who was so moved by the plea that he reached out to Bednarz to admit to the crime and help her find the urn.

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“Our precious box with the ashes of our son Dennis has been found!” Bednarz wrote in an update on Monday. “Yesterday evening I got the message from the thiev. It was in greek. Our friends, Ellena and her husband translated that for us and then went to inform the police.”

Not only did he message Bednarz, but the thief actually called her to make sure that she found her son’s ashes.

“He kept saying ‘I am sorry, I am sorry, I am sorry…I didn’t want to hurt you!’ He was cying. We were crying too. It I can’t even explain those emotions.”

While the rest of their belongings were not recovered, police found the ashes in the location the thief gave them. According to the Fox News, they ended up arresting three adult locals in connection with the crime, though Bednarz asked for them to be forgiven.

“They are not bad!!” Bednarz wrote. “They just made something stupid. But finally they returned our son! I hope they will get a chance to have a happy life! We pray for them and we are really grateful. Maybe it will sound strange…but we really felt sad when we found out that the police had already arrested them… I beg you for mercy for them! We have already forgiven them!”

The box is safe with police, and Bednarz wrote that they’d be returning the next day to retrieve the box and its precious contents. Thanks to the relative honesty and tenderheartedness of the thief, Bednarz won’t have to suffer through losing her son twice.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking