Col. Schmidt died in August at age 83 from pneumonia, and was cremated. His family had requested burial at Arlington, and traveled up with his remains this week in an urn from Satellite Beach, Fla., for the ceremony.
With the funeral set for today, the family yesterday visited the National Museum of the American Indian, driving in their rented van. While they were away, someone apparently broke into the van, stealing the urn and other items from the van.
Carol Schmidt, the colonel's daughter, told the paper, "They should be happy with all the other stuff they got. My mom is never going to recover from the thought of my dad being dumped in some alleyway someplace."
D.C. police do not have any suspects or leads.
Even without the urn, the family expects to proceed with the military ceremony, but burial will not actually occur until the remains are found. The family is offering a $1,000 reward for their return with no questions asked.
Schmidt graduated from West Point in 1949 and served bravely in the Korean War. He received two Purple Hearts for his wounds, and the Bronze Star for his valiant service.
Anyone with information is urged to call D.C. Police to help this true hero find his rightful resting spot.