Northeast Ohio couple's remains stolen before reaching final resting place in California

Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio (WJW) – They spent more than 20 years of their lives together and their wish was to be buried together forever.

But the family and friends of a northeast Ohio couple are devastated after their remains were stolen before they were laid to rest in California.

Clifford Shoemaker Funeral Home, Front Street, Cuyahoga Falls, was in charge of arrangements for David and Leslie Hunt.

David passed away suddenly in 2009 at the age of 61, and Leslie passed away in December of this year at the age of 73. As his friends were transporting his ashes to California, thieves destroyed the memorial plan.

Steve Shoemaker, who owns and manages the Clifford Shoemaker Funeral Home, said he was responsible for the cremation of a couple who died 14 years apart.

They were co-owners of a popular restaurant in Cuyahoga Falls called Hunt's Bar and Grille.

“Leslie was a personal friend, and she and her husband Dave…in fact, his urn sat on the bar until she passed away,” Shoemaker said.

The couple had no children, but had many friends.

On Friday, one of them, Bob Gallagher, and another friend carried the cremated remains to the family's compound and planned memorial in Huntington Beach, California.

Funeral directors said Leslie had been making final arrangements for some time and was adamant that California was her final home.

“When she passed away, everything was in place. We were able to have her cremated. I made the arrangements with her friend Bob, and he was the one who transported them,” Shoemaker said. said.

Bob landed at LAX in Los Angeles and stopped at a nearby Denny's for a snack.

However, when he returned to his rental car, he found the back window had been smashed and all of his belongings, including his friend's remains, were gone.

“It has no value other than its importance to our families and many of our closest friends back home,” Gallagher said.

On Saturday, someone discovered a box containing David's remains in a city about 60 miles from the restaurant.

“We received a call from a dog groomer who said they found Dave's urn in a parking lot or bushes or something like that. They saw the label on the bottom of the urn and were able to contact us. I talked to Bob and he was able to retrieve the urn,” Shoemaker said.

Gallagher said she searched the area for Leslie's urn, but as of Tuesday afternoon had still not found it.

They come in the same type of box and are enclosed in a white container.

“So I would be very grateful if you could give it back to me,” Mr. Gallagher implored.

Gallagher was scheduled to return to Ohio on Tuesday afternoon.

He told FOX 8 he will keep David's ashes at the cemetery in hopes of finding Leslie's urn soon.

https://www.wkbn.com/news/ohio/northeast-ohio-couples-ashes-stolen-before-reaching-final-resting-place-in-california/ Northeast Ohio couple's remains stolen before reaching final resting place in California

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