Family Pleads for Return of Veteran's Ashes - NBC4 Washington

Family Pleads for Return of Veteran's Ashes

The family says its grief doubled by theft of urn



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    It's been a week since the cremated remains of a decorated U.S. Army veteran were stolen -- and there is still no sign of the bronze urn where the ashes are supposed to be contained.

    The family of  retired Army Col. Norbert Otto Schmidt say they're feeling double the grief. Schmidt, 83,  died from pneumonia in August. But on Nov. 12, the urn was stolen from a rented van parked in the 300 block of Jefferson Drive S.W.

    The family had traveled from Satellite Beach, Fla., with the urn, plannnig on having Schmidt's remains laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. But just a day before the funeral, the family visited the National Museum of the American Indian. When they returned, they found the van broken into with many items missing, including the urn.

    Carol Schmidt, the colonel's daughter, told the Washington Post, "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."

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    Schmidt graduated from West Point in 1949 and served in the Korean War. He received two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star. His burial is now on standby until his remains are found, and his family is asking for the public's help. They are offering a $1,000 reward for the urn's return with no questions asked. The urn is 8.5" x 5.5" x 5.5", made of bronze, and has a cross on the lower right front of it.

    The United States Park Police say they are also determined to find the veteran's remains. "While closure of all criminal incidents is paramount, we understand that simply recovering this item is more important," said the U.S. Park Police in a release.

    They are encouraging anyone who may have any leads to call their local police department.

    "Detectives are making the recovery of this urn and contents a priority to assist the family with the mourning process and crime victimization," they said.