Delta Steals Cremated Remains From Passenger's Luggage

A North Carolina man says that his son’s cremated remains are missing from his suitcase. When he got his luggage at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport after a trip to Orlando, he found his bag was unzipped. Inside, some gadgets items and a box with some of his son’s ashen remains was gone. The family says it has filed complaints with Delta Airlines, the Transportation Security Administration and Orlando International Airport. They should also file a police report, but more importantly, if they have the electronic item’s serial numbers, they should check to see if the gadgets have shown up on eBay. One guy did that, found a guy listing his camera stolen from his luggage, and the thief ended up getting caught and prosecuted.

Chatham County Man Says Son’s Cremated Remains Were Stolen [WRAL] (Thanks to Christine!)
(Photo: Getty)


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  1. That had to have been a surprise when whoever opened the box opened it. But a question, would that box have to be marked? I mean, if it had opened while loading, a white/gray powder would be very suspicious.

  2. TWSS says:

    When I had to travel with cremains last year, they were sealed in a plastic bag with a tag identifying them as human cremation remains. That bag was in a box.

    Incidentally, depending on what kind of box you have, traveling with cremains is a total PITA. Frankly, I don’t know why someone would put something so important in checked luggage. I put my dad’s ashes in my carry-on.

  3. Parting says:

    @GitEmSteveDave: Probably the thief thought it was drugs.

  4. MercuryPDX says:

    @GitEmSteveDave: It was marked “Highly valuable diamonds…. do not steal!”

  5. hills says:

    You’re not even supposed to check prescription drugs in luggage because they can be hard to replace – why in the world would you check your son’s ashes?! Not to blame the victim, but seriously?!

    …At least it was only “some” of the ashes, I guess. Sad if true.

  6. Ecoaster says:

    Sadly, the message here for people is that you should never put anything of real value in checked baggage. Keep those things with you all the time in your carry-on bags. The same is true for prescriptions, etc. that you can’t go without in case the checked bag gets lost for a couple days.

  7. m4ximusprim3 says:

    His son’s ashes are probably up some disappointed (and now horrified) baggage handler’s nose by now.

    I would love to see the look on that guys face when he sees this news story.

  8. @m4ximusprim3: Was the baggage handler/thowers name Keith Richards?

  9. @TWSS: Could they be sent UPS or FedEx if you didn’t have enough room in your carry-on? I would assume they have less of a chance of being lost,are certainly better tracked than bags, and usually on-time.

  10. headon says:

    Maybe they are on the flight to Ashville

  11. jamesdenver says:


    I agree. I would never let that out of my sight much less check them. Let TSA grill me. I’m taking them with.

  12. Youthier says:

    I agree with everyone else. While it’s terrible and this guy is a victim, checking your son’s remains is not a good idea ever.

  13. clevershark says:

    Basically, when you check your luggage assume that it will be stolen.

    That’s pretty damn sad. The people that handle your luggage will steal stuff without a second thought. What would happen if some terrorist group figured out a way to get these people to put a bomb on board in exchange for a moderately large sum of money? Christ, if they’re stealing cremains for cash (even assuming they thought it was something else) who knows what these people will do for a few thousand bucks?

  14. savvy999 says:

    This is horrific.

    It’s one thing to lose some tourist-y bauble from your checked luggage, it’s another to have the remains of a loved one stolen.

    I would be suing for millions, yelling this at every reporter and blogger in the nation, calling every police department and/or individually hunting down baggage workers to their homes to find the a-hole that did this. Whatever it takes.

  15. veraikon says:

    @clevershark: That is truly a scary thought.

  16. littlealbatross says:

    @GitEmSteveDave: I dunno. I ordered a computer a couple of weeks ago and FedEx dropped it off a block away from my house in someone else’s snowy carport and had forged the “delivery required” signature because no one was home to sign for it. Thankfully the people were honest and called us when they found it two days later. :P