Daughter prays for return of mother’s ashes

December 10, 2013 • Local News

Debra Calderon stands with her son on Monday. Her mother’s ashes were stolen from her sister’s minivan last week. (Jill McLaughlin Photo)

Deborah Calderon hopes police can confirm if they have recovered her mother’s ashes that were stolen from a minivan last week.

“I can’t sleep at night,” Calderon said. “I’m praying she’s not in a dumpster somewhere.”

Her sister’s vehicle was parked at the Motel 6 at 3307 N. Main St. when Calderon said a thief stole the ashes, which were kept in a black box. The minivan was unlocked. Two video games were also stolen.

“I [auth] assume they probably thought it was a Christmas present,” Calderon said.

The deceased, Sondra Slooten, died in June 2008. Calderon, of Roswell, is the oldest of Slooten’s four children. They planned to eventually take her remains to liberate them in southern California. Each child planned to keep some in a locket, Calderon said.

“She wanted to be released towards the mountain area,” Calderon said.

The family didn’t have the money to purchase an urn at the time of Slooten’s death.

Calderon said she called police after her sister told her of the theft. Motel management was helpful as they searched rooms and the grounds, she said.

The mother of eight, she and her children have spent the past few days worrying and looking for answers, she said.

“I thought, ‘Oh man, she’s out in the cold,’” Calderon said. “It’s very stressful. We’re all very upset about it.

“But, I look at it this way, she’s on her last adventure.”

A black box that contained some ashes was located nearby near North Garden Avenue and turned in to the Chaves County Sheriff’s Department. The box was turned over to the Roswell Police Department which placed it into its property unit on Dec. 5, according to spokeswoman Sabrina Morales.

“An officer collected a black box with ashes similar to the item reported as stolen,” Morales said.

The box will remain in the property unit until one of the three sisters involved can provide documentation to prove ownership, Morales said.

Calderon is aware that the box was found and hopes it holds her mother’s ashes.

“I am hoping and praying that it’s her,” Calderon said. “That would be awesome. I would be relieved and my children would be happy.”

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