COVINGTON, Ga. — A military family on the move to Louisiana stopped to stay overnight in Georgia when the U-Haul with all of their possessions, including the urn containing the remains of their 6-month-old son, was stolen.
Ben and Kassandra Benton stayed at a La Quinta hotel Wednesday in Covington with their daughters Charlotte and Amelia while on their way to Barksdale Air Force Base, “Today” reported.
When they awoke Thursday, the U-Haul they had loaded with everything was gone.
“I went outside around 7 or 8 that morning and was on the phone with one of my good buddies,” Benjamin Benton told “Today.” “I looked up and was like, ‘The U-Haul... Where is it? Oh my god, the U-Haul is gone.’”
Hotel surveillance video shows a man in a gray shirt, light-colored pants and a light-colored hat get out of an SUV around 1 a.m. Another car drove up, then drove off. The SUV then left, following the U-Haul.
Investigators found the U-Haul Thursday about 30 minutes from where it was stolen. While some of the Benton’s possessions have been recovered, the urn and other memories of their son Wyatt, who was born prematurely in 2015, have not.
“I went to the hospital not feeling well and found out I was pregnant. It was crazy,” Kassandra Benton said. “I ended up having him early, at 24 weeks at home. My husband delivered him. I ended up hemorrhaging and he wasn’t breathing on his own. He fought for his life in the NICU for five months until he got a brain infection. We ended up taking him to hospice where he passed away.”
“His handprints that we had were in there, his footprints. We had a molding of his hand. We had just everything you could get from a baby that you’re losing, to have memories of him that you can keep. It was all in there.”
Investigators searched trash bins and the area near where the U-Haul was found but have not found the urn. They believe several people were involved in the heist.
“I’m mourning as if I just lost him,” Kassandra Benton said. “I just beg whoever took him to have a heart. Imagine it being their own kid or family member that they love and think about how they would feel. Please just return him. We don’t even care if they drop him somewhere that someone would recognize and let us have him back. It feels like we are losing him all over again.”