ELMHURST, Ill. — Police in Elmhurst said they arrested a man they believe was responsible for burglarizing a home and stealing not just personal items from the family, but a box containing the ashes of their late baby.
On Wednesday, Elmhurst police posted on Facebook and said they arrested a man who they believe broke into a family’s home on the 200 block of Melrose Avenue on Dec. 10 and recovered the cremated remains of a family member. The home’s owners, Sue and Jim LaDeur, said someone smashed a window, went inside and ransacked the home. Sue LaDeur said they stole a few items, including coins, but the worst part was that they stole a little white box containing her son’s ashes.
Her son, Billy Pax was a twin. His brother’s name was Matt. The twins were born nine weeks early. Matt was healthy, but Billy had health issues, and his parents knew from the start that he was very sick. Billy died after just 10 days.
The LaDeurs kept the small box of ashes on her dresser along with a small cast of his hand and foot — all that his parents had left to cherish.
“The ashes are in a little white box, it’s like three inches, by three inches about an inch high, so maybe they thought it was jewelry box and they just took it,” Sue LaDeur said.
Billy’s mother and father were hoping that the thief, or thieves, would come forward, have a heart and return the ashes. However, no one came forward but police were able to make an arrest.
“We are hopeful that reuniting the remains with the family will help to bring them closure and peace,” police said in their Facebook post.
Police said formal charges are pending.
Billy died five years ago. The LaDeurs were planning to bury his ashes with them when they died.