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Urn holding infant’s ashes stolen from Waialua home

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Leimomi Kahele looks at a photo album of her son, Horace, who was born 15 weeks premature in 2004 and died shortly afterwards, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011, in Waialua, Hawaii. A ceramic urn holding Horace's ashes was among the items stolen Wednesday during a burglary of the Kahele's home. The 25-year-old mom wants the urn returned, no questions asked. Along with friends and relatives, the Kaheles spent Thursday afternoon scouring Waialua's back roads for signs of the discarded urn or its contents. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

A ceramic urn holding an infant’s ashes was among the items stolen during a quick burglary of a Hawaii home, and the owner hopes it will be returned.

Leimomi Kahele left her home in Waialua, on Oahu’s North Shore, for about 25 minutes Wednesday and returned to find it ransacked.

"Every single cabinet in my house was open," she said Thursday. "Every single dresser drawer was open with everything on the ground."

While walking through her home with officers, she noticed an empty spot on her bedroom dresser.

"That’s when I looked at my son’s picture, and I realized the urn was gone," Kahele said. "I fell to my knees crying that they took my son’s ashes."

KHON2 reported Thursday that the urn and other stolen items were found by a woman in Hauula and were awaiting positive identification. Kahuku police would confirm only that the case was ongoing.

Horace Keliiholokai Kahele III was born 15 weeks premature on Aug. 15, 2004. He lived for five days.

"On top of the urn was his rosary he wore when we took him off life support," Kahele said. "That’s gone, too."

She had returned from a trip to the pharmacy when she noticed the baby gate on her porch was open and some jalousies were removed from a window. "I got back into the car and called police because I didn’t know if anybody was still in the house," she said. The Kaheles moved into the house in May.

She was still taking inventory Thursday but said other missing items included a portable DVD player, clothes, $600 of saved rent money in a safe and the lone present under the Christmas tree. Also gone was her 4-year-old daughter’s princess pillowcase, which Kahele suspects was used to haul the stolen items.

A Honolulu police spokeswoman said Thursday a report was filed and an investigation was ongoing. Officers who responded noted Kahele was extremely distraught over the missing urn, said police spokeswoman Caroline Sluyter.

The 25-year-old stay-at-home mom wants the urn returned, no questions asked. With her husband, mother, two aunts, a cousin and a friend, Kahele spent Thursday afternoon scouring Waialua’s back roads for signs of the discarded urn or its contents, which were in a plastic bag inside. The small, oval container was sealed shut with glue, she said.

Kahele said the urn’s disappearance, first reported by KHON-TV, is forcing her to relive the loss of her son.

"I fell into a deep depression when I lost him. I was finally blessed with my daughter and was trying to move on," she said. "I kept him in the house to protect my daughter and us."

She said she feels like she’s been in a daze since the ashes were taken. "It’s like someone kidnapped your child," Kahele said.


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