Father reunited with daughter's stolen ashes
Wyoming, MI — A West Michigan father has been reunited with his daughter's missing ashes, after her urn was stolen from his home four weeks ago. Two boys found it in the snow along a road in Grand Rapids, but it took a news report to connect it to the father. As Ann Marie LaFlamme reports, it's been an emotional rollercoaster for him.
Paul Hoogterp, "I watch FOX 17 every night at 10 and I see that on and I flipped out, flipped out."
A father's pain, revisited, his daughter urn, stolen from his home, "We had the detective on it, and I had hired a private detective to help me find this thing and just to see it on TV it was like oh my God! It was awesome."
Paul Hoogterp's 23 year-old daughter Aubrey died in 2012 after battling addiction, "She fought a hard fight she really fought, Aubrey did and I just want her to rest in peace now."
But the young mother's remains and urn were found on the side of this Grand Rapids road in the snow, Paul Hoogterp, "And then to hear the story it went from awesome to I was just furious, absolutely furious."
17 year-old Drew Mehney and Kyle Vulpetti found the urn and brought it to Zagman's Memorial Chapel who then turned it into police.
There were no markings and no way of identifying who it belonged to, so the Grand Rapids Police Department asked Fox 17 for help.
Paul Hoogterp, "I custom ordered it and I put the ashes in myself."
We were there when Paul called Kyle to thank him, Paul Hoogterp, "Thank you thank you thank you."
Kyle Vulpetti, "Oh no problem."
Paul Hoogterp, "You have no idea how much this means to us."
Bringing him a small amount of closure, in a loss that's still unbearable, Paul Hoogterp, "She was an awesome kid."
Paul is now dedicated to finding those responsible for this unthinkable act, "They can't even be human, they can't."
Offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to a conviction and making sure this never happens again, "Then I can be the voice for Aubrey, she deserves justice, and she deserves to be left alone."
Paul says he's giving a finder's fee to the two boys that found the urn. He says if the $5,000 reward is not claimed, it will be donated to the Make A Wish Foundation so that some good can come out of the tragedy.